The Communal Well – Under A Western Sky
The latest CD from this band of ex-pats, now based in Paris, France, finds them on a venture to create a viable slice of Americana music. Their hearts are in the right place and seem to have the best of intentions. The production values are here, as the sound of the CD is fine. They try to describe a world of the weary traveler with tales of road trips, blues, California hills, etc. Unfortunately not much here rings true. The vocals are lackluster, the lyrics of the mundane “heard that before” variety and a lack of soul in the delivery. The key word here is try. You can’t fault their intent. Sadly they just don’t have the right tools for the job.
Not much rings true. They manage to neuter Howlin’ Wolf’s “Little Red Rooster”, the only non-original included. It does however feature some good atmospheric slide guitar. Things don’t start to gel until the last two tracks. “Poor Boy” delivers a melancholy tale quite nicely with acoustic guitar and sparse drum accompaniment. “Hannah” embodies the Rolling Stones vibe of their country-blues era ala Exile On Main Street. With the tasty tones of electric guitar over a back drop of nicely strummed acoustic they capture the tension and release achieved by the Stones in such songs as “Tumblin’ Dice”. It’s just too bad the band didn’t put these skills to use earlier in the proceedings.
Hey, I wish I could have been more positive here, but most of this effort comes off as misguided. Nothing really stays in your head, as there are no real melodies. As I pointed out on the final two songs, the guys are capable of creating some stronger material. Hopefully they will pull together and come up with music that is more carefully constructed and realized. I want to be able to shower praise on everything I review, but it some cases there is only so much you can “spin”.