What can you say about Joe Volume that hasn’t been said before? Actually, I can say a lot as the guy seems to be struggling to get a break. Fine, the voice might be a make or break affair (a bit Tom Petty, so it depends how much you enjoy that) but I can’t find any fault on his guitar playing or the seedy sounds of Lonesome Water, Lonely Sea, a lightning quick album full of belt-on rockers and pedal shenanigans.
But wait! It’s not about gimmicks or pretentious experimentation. Lonesome Water, Lonely Sea is all about raw energy. No haymakers, only rope-a-dopes here. The raw, garage approach is evident in every single track, from the outright “Bukowski having a bender” sounds of ‘K.O. Blues’ to the “surf’s up, cabrones! ” energy of ‘This fire (starting to burn)’, which also sports some amazing trumpet work. As much fun as a bull doing a hang ten (after drowning a couple of bullfighters – fucking despise them…¡fiesta brava mis huevos!).
Sorry, for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself.
As I was mentioning before getting worked up with politics (seriously, what’s with the shiny suits? and the hats? argh, sorry!), the sounds of Joe Volume might sound sloppy, but then you understand they are part of a great plan: the simple sounds, strums and licks are juxtaposed most of the time with a ambient experimentation (check the ending of ‘There’s a time’). Then it dawns into you: you’ve been bamboozled by this rocker. Seedy blues (‘King Wolf’), blues rock lamentations (‘Pictures ‘n’ Papers’) and, why not? spiritual blues (‘Jesus was never there (the river)’) dominate the second half of this album; the garage is no longer grimy and falling apart, it’s now a low light bar where wheeler dealers and pimps drink the night away.
‘Dynamo!’ is quite a highlight, pretty much the second fiercest track in Lonesome Water, Lonely Sea (‘This fire’ takes the cake). The ending freaks me out a bit. ‘You will find god’ (lowercase from origin – Ed.) is the short and (bitter)sweet closing ditty.
It goes without saying that Joe Volume is quite happy to just let it out and rock his way (‘cuz the highway was full of road ragers and protesters). Again, the voice might be hard to some ears, but give it a go and see what’s being made in México in regards of rock (the proper type). Quite enjoyed this one (and he likes your shoes).
Words: Sam J. “YUP!” Valdés López