Attempting to breathe freshness into a classic—if not slightly stale—style such as soul-baring blues can be a tough task to tackle for many bands. All too often, the group brave enough to undertake such a possibly embarrassing task ends up coming off as more of a living room blues-Guitar Hero than anything remotely resembling The Black Keys.
But Tweed EQ from Dallas, a band that morphed from the local electro-blues group Austin Brown Sounds, has found a pleasing middle road that runs somewhere between a rehashed, yawn-inducing, faux memory-lane and whichever kick-ass road that Jack White keeps his even more kick-ass and blues-filled garage on. While, lyrically, there isn't any new territory being traversed here—what would a blues album be if there weren't an ample amount of love-gone-wrong songs?—co-frontmen Paisley Ascott (aka Robbie Saunders) and Sputnik Jones (aka Austin Brown) maintain a focused musical course that serves their direct and unpretentious odes admirably. There are times when the jams whip dangerously close to some indulgent, noodle-intensive turf, but Tweed EQ steers clear of any patchouli-scented patches, maintaining a tight framework from which to work.
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The nine tracks that make up Tweed EQ's new record, Harmonisizer, showcase a band that recognizes the urgent, emotional essence of soulful and funky blues.