Loud sideways shifting riffs interject between rosier coloured gentler verses on opening track ‘Pain No More’, wherein frontman Robert Jon Burrison relates how he’s better off without the woman who done him wrong – he makes penning such lyrics look easy and the story not gone stale thus far despite the fair number of these type of songs he’s done. Built for both a rock dance floor and a line dance, the organ shines throughout, but the loud guitars shouldn’t be ignored as The Wreck has gone turned up the volume throughout a number of these tracks.
The following ‘Who Can You Love’ may take you aback. Coming across as some lost early Eagles or Poco number. It’s wistful, very 70s but still sounding fresh. But hold your horses, drums call us in for the rock ‘n rolling ‘Come At Me’, on what may initially be considered being about modern well-being initiatives, but soon addresses that; calling out smug ego-warriors and with a rowdy chorus that dares virtue signallers to come-and-have-a-go-if-you-think-you’re-hard-enough (to use my own now-ancient cultural terminology) with enough integrity for us to know the band’s retain worthy intents.
Louder, and rocking in the same ballpark, but heavier is ‘One Of A Kind’, a narrative that weaves personal identity, finding a unique partner, and possibly a wider group identity amid some deft time changes and wide sliding guitar moves. It’s then followed by tracks, that you may have heard as singles, alongside catching sight of their accompanying videos.
“We had the pleasure of writing this song with our good friend and frequent co-writer, Ian Cullen,” said frontman Robert Jon Burrison of ‘Bring Me Back Home Again’. “The song touches on feelings of longing and isolation while being away from your loved ones, something we are all familiar with as we go on tour throughout the year.” The bold baroque resounding chords that open this number give it a somewhat epic feel, and as the tune progresses musically that opinion doesn’t really change, so it’s surprising to look at the time length on whatever digital device or watch you’re wearing and find it only comes in around 3.41 minutes long. Electrics and acoustics drive it on, with minor asides, more gentler musings, with warm southern rock ruminating on life on the road and a need to “feel your love again”.
Listening to ‘West Coast Eyes’ you may find yourself warm with an inner glow, whether the sun’s out or not, despite it being the most middle of the road type number on the record. Another wistful and melodic Eagles-styled number but with Robert Jon & The Wreck doing what they do best, by making you feel you know the lady-in-question sung about intimately yourself. And
As the video for ‘Don’t Look Down’ demonstrates – with its up-close film footage of Burrison and lead guitarist Henry James Schneekluth between cutting to assorted adventure sport activities – this is a foot-tapping, driving rocker. There’s loud and leary soloing, right up to the point it suddenly slows, whereafter Burrison starts rapping over an organ; this you suspect is one intended for audience participation live.
Final number ‘Ride Into The Light’ opens with a lazy dragging riff, working towards a soft chugging number with embellished organ runs, Robert Jon singing of leaving your worries at the door and better days ahead. The music grows bolder, group harmonies implicit in their goodwill vibe, and while there’s a harmony guitar line that keeps our foremost attention, there’s also this swinging clipped rhythm catching the mood enticingly as afterbite. The number’s shorter than expected, as with previous more recent albums from the band, this appears to evoke the overall records’ themes. Short but grandiose and enjoyable.
While both heavier, and more melodic in some of its arrangements, Ride Into The Light is no great departure from the sound Robert Jon & The Wreck have gained favour with in recent years. Their songs are often about losing out on love, being all loved up, tinged with nostalgia for yesteryears, or that good times will come again. Overall, they sing about stating positive, and we need guys like that right now.
- Reviewed by Paul H Birch.
- Ride Into The Light is released via Journeyman Records and is available now (from here).
- Official Website
- Pain No More
- Who Can You Love
- Come At Me
- One Of A Kind
- Bring Me Back Home Again
- West Coast Eyes
- Don’t Look Down
- Ride Into The Light