One Trick Dog Records
CD: 11 Songs; 42:25 Minutes
Styles: Light Rock, Contemporary Electric Blues Rock
Sometimes, people who aren’t musicians don’t realize how complicated music really is, even the most simple-sounding. Some of its myriad aspects are tone, pitch, volume, rhythm, tempo, and one of the hardest to master: melody. True melody is more than a catchy refrain of notes, or a chorus everyone can sing along with. Brooklyn, NY’s People vs. Larsen has become one of the best live bands in the city through conquering a musical facet that a lot of bands nowadays seem to ignore. Right from their rich and robust opener, “Sunset Chamber,” on down, this trio brings melody back to the forefront of light blues rock. Some might consider it a little too light, and a little too rock-based. They might even call it easy listening, but others will love this CD.
Their promotional materials provide a revealing bit of background info: “People vs. Larsen has represented an innovative voice in the indie/blues music scenes in New York for over three years. The group, including Tom Larson on guitar and vocals, Dylan Shamat on bass and Dave Tedeschi on drums, released their debut album in the fall of 2012…The band has played venues across New York, and continues a three-year residency at the McKittrick Hotel. In addition, the band plays every Friday and Saturday for [the ensemble] Sleep No More.”
People vs. Larsen’s brand of blues is iridescent, effervescent, and incandescent. It shimmers, fizzes and glows with several layers of sound. It features not only the three regular members mentioned above, but also Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young organist Todd Caldwell, Michael Valeanu on guitar, Wayne Tucker on trumpet, and Bill Todd on baritone saxophone.
The following song is a prime example of this band’s take on the blues. It contains the usual subject matter, short title, and perky beat, but it definitely doesn’t sound like any of the old masters – even those who are young and Caucasian, like the late, great Sean Costello:
Track 07: “Big Leg Woman” – From the burbling bass to the sultry horn section, lucky number seven treads a fine, three-dimensional line between jazz, blues and rock. “I like big leg women, as sure as I know my name. I say, the way that woman moves is a low-down, dirty shame.” The surefire-winning upsides of this song are its lyrics, tempo, and overall jovial mood. The downside is that baby boomers and other fans of traditional blues might scratch their heads. There may not be a “lump-de-lump” rhythm to be heard here, but no matter. Kick back, relax, and grab a partner for the dance floor. If not, sip Kahlua and coffee to your heart’s content.
On their Facebook page, People vs. Larsen posted a video of one of their most recent, and most unique, concert opportunities: “We had a blast on Monday at School Night in Hollywood! We always relish the chance to perform our original music for our LA friends. Here is a little cut of our tune Good Thing from our new album Loving Losing. Grab it on iTunes or bandcamp!”
Loving Losing may be light blues rock, but it’s also melodic, multi-layered, and memorable.