Steven Troch Band – Rhymes For Mellow Minds
13 songs time – 44:06
This Belgian band’s jump off point is the blues, but there is much more going on from this eclectic bunch via imaginative and quirky lyrics along with musical variations. The basic line up of harmonica, guitar, bass and drums is augmented by saxes and keyboards at times. Steven Troch plays harmonica and sings with a hipster attitude. Little Steve Van Der Nat holds up the guitar chores with skill and this band’s requisite creativeness. The rhythm section of “King Berik” Heirman on drums and Liesbeth Sprangers on bass are the glue that keeps things together.
“Short End” is about getting the short end of the stick in life. Infectious blues-meets-rockabilly guitar abounds here alongside clever lyrics such as “But he got sucker punched by life in a one-two combination”. The vocals here and elsewhere fit the hipster vibe and Steven is no slouch on harmonica. “Bad Taste” is about a woman lacking in taste, but not in looks. Marimba and sort of a gypsy vibe on guitar and harmonica along with slightly humorous lyrics contribute to the exotic vibe.
“Going To Dagobah” is a nicely jumpy harmonica driven instrumental romp where Frankie Ford’s “Sea Cruise” is briefly quoted on harmonica. Bruce James’ piano and organ are the only accompaniment to Troch’s voice and harmonica on the jaunty “Troubled One”. “Long Long Beard” is a goofy novelty throw away. For me the only miscue here, no biggie. The jump blues “White Line Express” gets the groove back on track, a tale about cocaine abuse.
“Rabbit Foot Trail” is an old time foot stomping-clapping instrumental with chanting. “15 Minutes” is a perky old timey ditty. Hearty amplified harmonica powers “Mister Jones”, a strong modern blues number. “His soul was leakin’ outta his nose”. Distorted vocals, raging guitar, harp and blazing saxes contribute to the frenzy of “Vertigo”. “Life is a play, I’m just a bad actor”.
“Bedroom Eyes” is a lazy R&B tinged blues. A Latin rhythm underscores “Rain Rain” in a similar relaxed groove. Amplified harmonica, saxes and a loping guitar riff permeate “Walk Away”. After song’s end and about a minute, a brief hidden track pops up. Just Steven on vocal backed by piano. Sounds like it’s about a lady friend and “Then my furry fling coughs up a big hairy ball, it high tailed to the hall, then hit the kitchen wall”. Hey, mystery and quirkiness are one of the factors aside from great music that make this band a fantastic find.
Blues based music with intriguing musical and lyrical turns, what more can you ask for? Fertile minds are at work here and I love it! The only down side to discovering a foreign band is that they very rarely venture to the states to perform. This CD will do for now.