Alex Lopez – Nasty Crime
On Maremil Music and Records
11 songs, 43 minutes
An album titled Nasty Crime seems like it would be a pretty down and dirty Blues record. Not the case for Florida based Blues Rocker Alex Lopez’s sixth album. Apparently the only crime Lopez commits is being a solid guitarist, a sincere songwriter and a bit of an optimist. The slickly produced Nasty Crime comes in with 11 Blues adjacent Classic Rock tunes that run the gamut from power ballad to shit-kicking stomper.
Alex Lopez has a tight backing band called the Xpress. Kenny Hoye stabs the music with keyboard jolts. Steve Roberts lays in fat bass with Kana Leimbach keeping the grooves tight and rock solid. Nasty Crime is a Lopez showcase though. Singing with a shouting tenor somewhere around Steve Windwood altitude, Lopez is full of passion. Multi-tracking layers of guitars, sometimes in unison, sometimes sliding, sometimes just chugging with reckless abandon, Lopez shows off his various instrumental sides.
The 1-2 opening punches of “World on Fire” and “Just Wait” set a crunchy high energy pace. Both songs deal with observations about the difficult times we are living through. But, Lopez pushes back with defiance in the face of negativity. The first specifically Blues number “When the Sun Goes Down” swings and wobbles with more of a rocker’s touch. Think more David Lee Roth then say Eric Clapton. The title track is a big punchy bit of Funk Rock that Lopez surfs over with some jive talk while closer “That’s Alright” has an extended outro solo that scorches.
In the center of the album is a solo acoustic performance titled “The First Time.” This love song is more Classic Rock acoustic, think Mr. Big, then Delta Blues acoustic. Lopez sings with a tenderness not always permissible in his more raved up tunes. With some tasty passing chords and a cool melody flipping bridge, this tune is a great cathartic pause in the middle of a big sounding record.
Alex Lopez is a great musician. He is clearly well skilled and passionate. Some of his songwriting is a little too plain spoken, allowing for some platitudes to creep in. However, it is clear why Lopez has built a solid career over 6 albums. Co-produced by George Harris whose credits include Cheap Trick and Brian Johnson of AC/DC, Nasty Crime is a strong outing and well worth a listen for those of us who want our Blues to have a bit of a classic 80’s Rock edge.