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The Blue & Gray Press | July 20, 2017

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The Spotlight: 'Warpaint' by The Black Crowes

By Landon James

The Black Crowes have hatched another egg after seven years of hibernation in a tumultuous winter of band quarrels and disagreements.

The group came together to release “Warpaint” on March 3, 2008, and Rolling Stone Magazine describes it as “brawny Southern Rock and psychedelic R&B ecstasy” and they were not lying…entirely.

The album takes on an entirely lighter side and approach to their past albums, yet feels at home breaking out hard-driving rock songs.

Frontman Chris Robinson is so bluesy that rainbows might just have to ask the government for some more pigment.  He sings of everything from the Daughters of the Revolution to God and he has just got it.

However, there is a starch and almost disturbing contrast between The Black Crowes’ debut album “Shake your Money Maker” and “Warpaint.”  The band does not feel as powerful and as fierce as The Black Crowes of Christmases past.

It is as if the eye of the storm, the calm in the lightning and thunder had put a calm over their music, though it’s still compelling. “Shake Your Money Maker” birthed the band out of the womb with a guitar and an explosion, but “Warpaint” has put the band in the rocking chair with a yawn.

The album begins with their money maker “Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution” and caresses through slow, gut-wrenching blues to good ol’ Southern rock that will bring out the accent in you for no particular reason.

“Locust Street” brings out the bluegrass roots in the band while three tracks down the road “God’s Got It,” my personal favorite of the album, is unleashed. “God’s Got It” is the last big shazam, as Shaquille O’Neal would say, and from there the album progresses into psychadelia and obscurity.

The album concludes with “Here Comes Daylight,” which I felt awkward and odd listening to completely sober.  Cymbals, Robinson’s voice and what may or may not have been back-masked sounds take the listener through a psychedelic trip where one may easily wander down the rabbithole to find Alice talking with a hookah-smoking caterpillar.

I was expecting more Southern rock and bluesy get-off-your-seat-and-shake-your-butt songs, but the band takes a softer approach.

Though The Black Crowes fall short on this album, their seven-year absence from studio releases got the public’s mouth watering so profusely that they probably could have put one track on their album of Robinson talking about how much he loves cream-filled donuts and the public would have gone nuts.

Borrow this album from a friend or it buy off iTunes, but do not pay full price or you will regret your decision.

“Warpaint” gets two Chris Robinson Jesus beards out of five.

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