The Rick Ray Band – Acrylic Charlie | Album Review

The Rick Ray Band – Acrylic Charlie

Neurosis Records

CD: 11 Songs, 74 Minutes

Styles: Acid Rock, Hard Rock, Psychedelic Blues, All Original Songs

Yours truly is a voracious blues lover, writer and reader. She consumes all the art she can get her ears, eyes and hands on. While looking for new literary treats, she came across H.P. Lovecraft and his famous Cthulhu Mythos. It spreads its tenets out like tentacles, but perhaps the foremost is this: All is chaos; all is madness. Ponder that as you listen to Acrylic Charlie, the latest album from the Rick Ray Band. It fuses acid rock, hard rock, and trance blues in a funky fury that would even blow Jimi Hendrix’s mind. Featuring over an hour of original material with titles such as “Headed to Nowhere,” “Lunacy Set Free,” “Nervous Dot Calm” and “Doomtown Mannequins,” it’s not a CD that can be easily classified. It invites you to let go of everything you knew about blues, rock, and everything in between. Every instrument blasts and coils around every other one in perfect discord and top volume even if your settings are low. It strings out your mind and emotions, taking you on a wild ride and letting you land without a net.

On their website, they list a remarkable thirty-five albums available for purchase, being as prolific as they are psychedelic. Having opened for such iconic bands as Black Sabbath, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Blue Oyster Cult, they know that sometimes what audiences want in terms of a good time isn’t always the comfortable music they recognize. This band’s music has no comfort zone. In fact, they eschew it in favor of stretching the boundaries of everyone’s artistic universe.

The Rick Ray Band consists of our leading man on guitars and vocals; Dave “Shaggy” Snodgrass on bass and vocals; Kip Volans on drums; Rick “Sarge” Schultz on reeds and wind synth, and special guest Sam Guinta on keyboards.

The only recognizable blues song on this release is “All Of You Kids,” the final number, a brief and hilarious shot of blues-rock adrenaline. Our narrator is most likely a grumpy old man: “All of you kids, get off of my lawn! Gonna call the cops on you! I’ll take your baseballs and your Frisbees, too. You son of a beach! I spit on you!” Even though this reprimand runs only one minute and fifty-four seconds, that’s all you need for a good belly laugh and maybe a snort.

The other mind-warping, ear-bending, trance-inducing tunes run upwards of five minutes and sometimes ten, with “Time Waits for You” being the crowning glory. I swear I felt my fragile consciousness unhinge as I tried to peel back the layers of instrumentation while riding a wave of pure, unadulterated sound. In more of a party mood? Do you like songs about gambling? Then try “All Debts are Paid,” a blistering rock masterpiece that would make the Allman Brothers and Eric Clapton blink in wonderment. The title track pulls out all the stops with a hard-driving rhythm, and look out for the eerie narration on “Flight 714.” It’ll set your teeth on edge for sure.

Sometimes life, the universe, and everything makes no sense. Is all chaos and madness in your neck of the woods? The Rick Ray Band knows how you feel. Let Acrylic Charlie show you!

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