When one thinks of the sound of Riverwest, “earnest blues-rock” probably doesn’t come to mind. Yet here are The Young Revelators, a young (natch) trio hailing from the ever-buzzing neighborhood, specializing in just that. On the group’s debut full-length, All I See, bluesy vocals fuse with crunchy guitar riffs, jam-y bass lines mingle with subtle touches of psychedelia, and down-in-the-groove rhythms carry lyrics about tough times and hard living. Listeners adverse to the genre likely won’t be converted, but for those in the mood for tasteful, meat-and-potatoes blues-indebted rock, The Young Revelators hit an undeniable sweet spot.
Opener “Worms” sets the table nicely. Singer-guitarist Alejandro Martinez bursts forth from a creeping, White Stripes-esque guitar intro as drummer-brother Frankie Martinez and bassist Benjamin Michalski lay down a swampy, whiskey-soaked foundation. From there, “Times Is Hard” tosses in a scorching guitar solo here and a double-time outro there, and “All I See” takes a dusty Frank Black And The Catholics-channeling gallop and adds a touch of fiddle to the mix. Michalski’s bass and Alejandro Martinez’s distorted vocals highlight the heavy “Just A While,” while the prog-y and gear-shifting instrumental “Martin” demonstrates The Young Revelators’ devotion to the endangered album format, as well as co-producer and engineer Gary Tanin’s always deft touch.
And just like a good song, All I See picks up speed as it goes, finding its groove around the midway point. Album highlight “Here For The Ride” is driving yet druggy, its bleary-eyed melody cast in a haze of car exhaust and other mind-expanding smoke. “Sausalito,” too, scores big on a bittersweet-but-hopeful ballad (“Maybe our lives could be this good forever”) that breezes its way through the highways and byways of California, and even takes a detour for an unexpected sax solo. “Night After Night,” meanwhile, possesses a wicked guitar intro straight from the Jack White playbook, while “Lend Your Ear” and “Lookin'” find The Young Revelators taking some inspiration from their neighborhood after all, with “ooo”‘s and falsetto croons that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Surgeons In Heat record.
Before All I See sees its release Friday, January 15 at Linneman’s, listen to it now, fellow young revelators, only at Milwaukee Record.