Shades of Soul (Independent)
There’s nothing wrong with going the retro route, this having been proven by everyone from Jack White and the Kings of Leon to local heroes Pride Tiger and Sun Wizard. But there’s a fine line between clever and plain old puzzling. Jesus Krysler falls on the latter side of things with Shades of Soul, a record that seems designed to make one wonder what decade the trio is living in.
The answer, seemingly, is the ’70s, with this 15-track release coming on like an artifact from when all self-respecting rock stars wore bell-bottoms and sported hair down to the cracks of their asses. From the post-Beatles hard glam of “Another Ride” to the boogie-monster blues of “Kids ’r Wild”, it’s competently played stuff. It’s also, at times, more than a little head-scratching, no more so than on the southern rocker “Johnny Come Home”, which, despite presumably being about a holy war in the Middle East, has someone croak “eins, zwei, drei” in a Germanic accent 40 seconds in.
Elsewhere, Shades of Soul is, depending on your affection for all things ’70s, either an authentic blast from the past or charmingly clueless. You could probably argue both for “The Roadie”, a countrified stoner jam that starts out with “I spend most of my life up here on the stage/It’s where I feel at home and work is not a cage.” Christ knows that’s the kind of clunky sentiment that will get you laughed right out of the Biltmore, but here’s wagering that the next time Jesus Krysler finds itself playing a Legion in Chilliwack the dance floor will be lit up by hoisted Bics.