By Megan Blahnik
LOLLYGAGGER– For those of you that have a taste for the vintage classics that float timelessly amongst other genres, you will have a craving for The Blind Barbers. With a sweet mixture of Dylan, McCartney, even some David Gilmour and Waters, accenting the modern southern rock and blues of Black Keys and even some Strokes-adjacent riffs thrown in, the band’s first attempt to manifest the lost art of blues is a success.
First album, Lollygagger, gives off an early Black Keys/ Auerbach-like chill up your spine with the brilliance of deep tone and heavy bass that carries a sweetness in-air throughout the sonic charade; in fact he [Auerbach] may even wish he wrote these himself. The set list is perfectly compiled, by leading singer Justin Schaefer, as each track bounces like an old, wooden roller coaster that picks you up and brings you down; to a blues level, of course. This, another testament to the prodigy’s flawless craft.
Accompanying certain riffs, 18-year-old Justin’s voice sinks into roots that stem as far historically and as beautifully as Beatles that once crawled this Earth together. Schaefer’s effortless and professionally stroked skill resembles the famous, vintage intoxication of the ’60s and ’70s that made you feel something in your bones.
In this case, it really is a “One Man’s World” as, in reality, this is Schaefer’s world and we are simply living in it.
Major hints of key bleeding thick of legendary Strokes vibes are found in tracks like “Fellas in Green” and “When It Gets to What It’s Going to Be.” The upbeat bass and almost Dylan-like texture pull you in and your feet from the ground to the dashboard with funky blues.
Now, let’s talk about “Jack Rabbit” and its intelligently soothing melody. If we understood and discovered the perfect tune for a sad airplane clip in a movie, “Jack Rabbit” would be king. The back up singers echoing Schaefer’s gorgeous voice make the song as slippery as a stick of butter.
“Sugar Rush” could not have a more perfect title under beautiful irony that drowns you in whatever Schaefer was feeling at the time of the ballad’s conception. Oh, and the melody of a “Week or Two” to pick us right back up with a celestial gradient toward his tonal color; its vibrancy will pluck at your acoustically strung heartstrings.
“All Your Friends” somehow manages to perfect the exact middle ground of happy blues as one that will sweep your sorrows but still acknowledge them. And, then summons the depressingly beautiful “The Rule Book;” a sad but honest stream of heartbreaking, really, lyrics. It is safe to say that Schaefer pours his heart out in this brilliant track; much of Beatles nodes are detected as I can assume McCartney would enjoy the rareity of sadness emanating from Justin’s lips.
As Auerbach is sirened once again, with and in “She Played the Rain,” you cannot help but sway to its classic body drowning in almost ’50s-like, car at the drive-thru, swing-dancing riffs and notes of pure genius. It sounds as though Auerbach himself is on lead guitar in the gorgeous solo that actually gives me a Skynyd, southern fervor.
There may be not even be words for next track “Ghost of a Girl” that creeps like an old fashioned horror movie; with class and a bit of fright that you somehow enjoy. When you are under Justin’s spell while he delivers flawlessness in the form of song, you will be beyond entranced in the jazz of Schaefer’s incredible cry that demands your attention.
Oh, if there were words for how “Home Ground” makes me feel while I sit in my bed alone with enough in this life listening to its hand-clapped, handmade genius; that would just be scraping the surface of what I was feeling the moment I wrote this.
And, lastly, the lasting magic of “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” delivers a pristine vinyl track recording heavy of your favorite jazz club record, transporting you back in the ’20s; back to that timeless echo of a classic, steel microphone. The fact that Schaefer’s musical knowledge extends so far back to add this quality of sound to his words, shows the degree to which he takes his art seriously.
After listening to Lollygagger track-after-track, soaking in its refreshing and yet familiar texture to the music that I value as “great,” I can honestly say that this is by far one of the better albums I have come across. This 18-year-old, and all of his hidden gem luster, will soon shine brighter than I think even I will realize.
About the Author:
Megan Blahnik is an American music journalist and writer living in San Diego, California, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of our @untwine.usa location.
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