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Album Review by ODIN for The Ripple Effect
Chicago has a blues tradition, founded in the Delta blues stylings of musicians who travelled north to escape the Jim Crow laws of the southern states. It is the home to blues labels like Chess Records in the past and Alligator records currently, and can boast a literal who's who of blues greats such as Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. Chicago is also home to Thee Arthur Layne, who refer to themselves as a “scuzz rock” band, but to my ears they tap into the blues history and take the music to some interesting places.
They have released two singles, titled “HVY DRT”, Volumes 1 and 2. As there are only a total of 4 songs between the two releases, I thought I would write about them both. Maybe I should also tell you that I really love this band and I really want you to check them out.
“Volume One” starts out with “Father Friendly”, which has a bit of a scuzzy quality to it and for me is probably the most straight up rock song among the bunch. It also has a high quality groove to it, which is something that heavy music needs more of. In my imagination, these guys are up on stage in a hot, sweaty club, and when they drop any of these tunes, the groove is shaking every ass in the house.
The other side of this single is “Scorpion Crawl”. If these guys met Ol' Scratch at the crossroads to sell their souls for the blues, they also dropped acid together, and this song is the outcome. The track is bare bones and sparse at times, but when the time comes these gentlemen get heavy as fuck, and I dare you to stand still while you listen to this one. Singer Jason Walters is a revelation, going from smooth as butter to bringing down hellfire and brimstone. This tune will definitely grab your attention.
Moving on to “Volume 2”, we get into “Heavy Traffic”, which features some very tasty guitar work from Adam Scott. It puts me in mind a bit of Leslie West and Mountain. The song itself if bluesy workout but done by a band that has taken the basic blues and done their own thing with it. These two releases are roughly a year apart and you can hear that the band is very confident in what they want to do and how they put it across. You can hear the growth of the band between the first and second volumes. I like a band that knows what they want to do and are able to communicate that vision to their listeners.
“North Avenue Shakedown” is the flip side of this second single and my favorite track so far by these guys. It is by turns rough and raw, then smooth as silk. I can hear may influences in this one. The blues is there, of course, but also psychedelia, some garage rock, and some very interesting structure to the song. The guitar solo leads to an instrumental freak out, then a vocal only breakdown, and then a wind up to a perfect ending to an ambitious track like this.
This is some really quality music by a band that is getting better and better. I hope the good people of Chicago are taking notice and I hope this band is able to tour so I can see them in person. Do get your hands on this music. You can find it digitally on their Bandcamp site or you can buy physical copies at www.wholso.me/wax
Album Review by The Sludgelord.uk
Can you hear that crunch, those harmonicas, and that motherfucking croon? You’re god damned right, you hear that! It’s Thee Arthur Layne, checking in with one more EP, “Heavy Dirt Vol. II,” before 2016 checks out. Sure, Thee Arthur Layne is 70’s influenced – indebted – and what not, but it’s the soul that these bad boys have managed to capture that makes this a band to look out for. After all, when soul is delivered with this much power and conviction, it’s sure to be heard up and down the country. So watch out for these guys in 2017 because there’s something bubbling here, and if you’re not prepared for it, you might spend a lot of time in the new year shopping for new socks (because, you know, they’ve been rocked off).
Album Review by Paul Rote of Doomed and Stoned:
You may remember THEE ARTHUR LAYNE from 'That Seventies Compilation’ we released over the summer, which featured the song “Father Friendly” from their first single, released in 2015, which included that excellent B side “Scorpion Crawl.” Both of those songs were protometal gems that sounded liked they’d emerged right out of a time capsule from the late sixties. It brought to mind Blue Cheer, Sir Lord Baltimore, Iron Butterfly, Vanilla Fudge, and the likes.
Their second single, released the end of September, gets even more raw, ballsy, heavy and psychedelic. This time I couldn’t help be reminded of those British legends The Edgar Broughton band, who gave us some of the meanest and nastiest heavy sounds of the late-sixties/early-seventies. Thee Arthur lane lay out two heavy tracks of over the top acid rock and swamp metal, brilliantly uniting the very first wave of stoner rock with the modern scene. I am anxious for a full LP, quite frankly. I’m also curious as to how they would handle a softer track. For now, we have four songs between Volumes I and II of 'HVY DRT’ and with this I am content.
Album Review from StonerHive:
Back in 2015 the four Thee Arthur Layne cats released their first seven inch. The Hvy Drt Vol.I release was absolutely the best seven inch to ever grace the needle over here. Two golden tracks filled to the brim with full on dune boogie rockers straight out of the psychedelic seventies. Its punky, its proto-metal and grooves the hell out of every bellbottom pants in the room. And the boys are back with a follow up. Aptly called Hvy Drt Vol.II the two tracks move even more into the blues avenue of everything they did before. When the news came that Graveyard called it quits back in September, we were all distraught. But listening to the two tracks on this single we can rest easy and know that that style of rock is in good hands. And yes, ofcourse their own professed love, inspiration and source for everything Edgar Broughton Band also shines through. Intense free rock, both wild, warm and soulful. Yet with this icy spark that sends shivers up your spine. Something big is happening here and Thee Arthur Layne will lead the way!