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Luxuriant Sedans’ “Born Certified” Reviewed

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I’m warning you youngsters if you can’t get meta when it comes to the blues, the most hidebound of hybrid pop forms, Luxuriant Sedans’  debut album Born Certified might not be for you. It keeps  on moving from Jimmy McCain rockabilly blues in 1954 to country satirist Webb Wilder in 1995 all the way to hard blues archivists Luxuriant Sedans themselves today. Luxuriant Sedans are an assault on snobbism, a guitar battering ram with a master blues in check . It is howling brother Mike “Wezo” Wesolowski and a duel guitar attack Rob Slater and Gino “Woo Funk” Grandinetti , trading solos, two a break. Here I might add that Jimmy’s middle name is boogie and providing the boogie in question is Ed Bumgardner on bass and Bob Tarleton. The four seem to be updating but only to a certain year a Chuck Berry as spaceman boogie rocker till it fuses into Yardbirds grooviness and Chicago growl – all before the very  first track, the sincere warning “Stay Out Of Automobiles”, is over.

This isn’t the best song on the North Carolina blues rockers debut album, but it is completely indicative of how the band brings it all back home: in nearly an hour of hot to trot cover songs harps will haunt you and melodies will twist like a combination of some thirty years of electricity, home to prey on the unwilling. It is fucked up working  men’s struggles, songs to chase shots of bourbon with bud chasers in broken down pool halls while shooting pool and worrying on the lady that left you; a sort of songs for the lonely downer tracks from a by gone era, like Frank Sinatra if Sinatra was black, it boils and simmers in track after track, reaching its apotheosis early, with a “Cold Turkey” that seems to break out in a cold sweat, in pain as much from the DTs as the loss of the man who wrote it.

The song is Luxuriant Sedans’ finest moment, but the album has staying power, with its roots in Americana and its head in the mid-60s, it matches them together and ends up with something less close to its influences than you might imagine. I mentioned meta and what I meant is, it is a refracted mirror. From Robert Belfour to Elmore James to Willie Dixon, these are great blues roots spun dry in UK white blues attitude and spun in 2015 men who are tired of music that doesn’t do it for them any more, so they do it themselves.

When you listen to 60s UK blues there is something very received about it, it is searching for feelings it doesn’t quite understand, but the Luxuriant Sedans know Page, Clapton, Beck, Mayall, and they aren’t naive about them, they know their antecedents and Luxuriant Sedans are of an age where they aren’t lost in the world of the blues.

Let’s see what the press release has to add:

Luxuriant Sedans is five musicians from North Carolina. The band’s debut, Born Certified, is the inventive sum of the band’s musical DNA. The album is a love letter to great songs by underexposed performers of merit crowned by two original compositions. In reimagining these songs, the band straddles blues and rock to do for a new generation of music fans what such British bands as The Yardbirds, the Rolling Stones and Humble Pie did for in the 1960s and 1970s. Guitar-driven performances, recorded live in the studio with few overdubs, are punctuated by the soulful vocals and singular harp wizardry of Mike “Wezo” Wesolowski. Born Certified is an homage to what came before that thunders toward the future, thwarting expectations, crossing genres and generations. Real music made by and for real people. “

Both Mitch Easter and Peter Holsapple are somewhere on the album and the connection is probably Rob Slater who used to be with the Sneakers. I could give you more of their past history, it is very impressive, but you can read it for yourself here. Together the band is unafraid to luxuriat in groove, and willing to put the harp front and center, they swing each song like Spencer Davis without the keyboards, they draw the songs out and snap em back in place, giving into sex and booze, guitar heroes and Plant with his upper register cut off, or Muddy with less growl. It adds up to a first rate blues record which hides its reason, to neither repeat nor replace the blues, but to reform it in their own image, behind a strident masculity and tough ass motherfucker attitude gone in 2015 but not forgotten. You’ll love it.

Grade: A-

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