The blues-rock revival is in full effect with 'Testify', the latest effort from BASSON LAUBSCHER & THE VIOLENT FREE PEACE. Typically, modern music increasingly relies on the formulaic and repeatable approach. It is not uncommon to hear a track littered with synthetic sounds that are meant to mimic their real world counterparts. With LAUBSCHER and company the MIDI-triggered sampled drum kit, the in-the-box guitar tone, etc. are all M.I.A with this collection of tunes. In their place are tones that have travelled from the fingertips (and throat) of four experienced musicians, through a recording console to preserve and right into your ears for as true an organic listen as possible.
Title track ‘Testify’ opens up with a plunging musical baptism with its chorus of horns, guitars, and sermonic delivery of LAUBSCHER’s vocal performance. As fierce and as bombastic the opener is the following ‘Lost’ purifies the ear with a peaceful acoustic offering. The relationship between these two tracks is emblematic of the tonal balance of Testify. Whether the objective is to overwhelm with the sheer might LAUBSCHER and company are capable of or draw in close with intimacy the album maintains its equilibrium. That is to say, no matter the peak or valley the album feels even from track to track.
Watch 'Testify' Below!
That said 'Testify' is a testament –pun intended- to the organic rock music production. Due to the authenticity of the albums recording, the listener is in the room, on the other side of the campfire, front-row in the arena, whatever the setting, the listening experience just puts you…there. Each track wraps itself around the listener in an embrace of lush tones. From the fluffy but rugged overdriven rhythm guitars, smooth chorale organ and pads, to the simplicity of the knock of the kick drum against its room ambience; Testify is a beautiful listening experience. ‘Make It Right’ proves as much when moving from its riffy passages to an open atmospheric instrumental break.
All said, this is an album that doesn’t get lost in itself. The strength and lasting quality of this record is that Testify does not seek to blow you away with all that a modern record could blow you away with. LAUBSCHER & THE VIOLENT FREE PEACE paid unique attention to preserving the authenticity of the blues rock performance. The lack of over the top embellishments is the feature in a world that treats it as a bug and that is what Testify leans on in a macro sense. The resulting experience is what LAUBSCHER and company intended it to be; a bombastic listen that stays true to its nature with a few twists and turns to keep your attention. For fans of the golden age of classic rock, blues and the like, there is more than enough meat on bone here.
Russell Miller is the front-of-house/monitor engineer for Red Gate Sound & contributes reviews and an occasional snarky op-ed here at UNDERGROUND PRESS. If the music has a strong melody, a drive, or ambition chances are that it’ll have my attention. Knowledge. Follow Russell on Twitter and InstagramCheck out his tunes at SoundCloudWebsite: soundcloud.com/arkayem