Blues musician Gary Clark Jr. is “a full- fledged guitar hero of the classic school,” said Jon Pareles in Rolling Stone. The 28-year-old Texan has spent the past decade wowing blues and rock fans with incendiary live performances, but his major-label debut album has a more ambitious goal—“to reach his own generation, the one that grew up on hip-hop and R&B.” To do so, he tries on about a dozen new styles, from garage rock to psychedelia to retro soul. He’s still at his best “when he digs into blues, saturating his solos with psychedelic textures and toxic levels of feedback,” said Greg Kot in the Chicago Tribune. Highlights include the “doom- ridden” “When My Train Pulls In,” and “Next Door Neighbor Blues,” a “back-porch solo piece on slide guitar.” Though Clark has a voice for smooth R&B, the tracks that steer too far in that direction come off as bland. His “musical openness is admirable,” but he’d be better off trying to nail one style at a time.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 10 things you need to know today: September 16, 2014
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Can we lead spiritually fulfilling lives without religion?
- What political elites don't understand about Scotland's push for independence
- Is 'feminism' just another word for 'liberalism'?
- This is how the U.S. thinks China could invade Taiwan
Subscribe to the Week