Album review: LUXURIANT SEDANS – Born Certified


Seventh Son [Release date 08.09.15]

From the opening heavy duty guitar squalls, power chords, growling vocal and interwoven guitar parts voiced over cymbal splashes, to the pounding conclusion of Jerry McCain’s ‘Stay Out Of Automobiles’, you know you are in for a barn storming set.

Luxuriant Sedans hail from North Carolina and whatever it is they put in the water down there, it seems to sprout into a fertile musical heritage.

Luxuriant Sedans straddle the blues-rock divide. They are band with total commitment to the substance of their music and the spirit of their performance. It probably explains why you can almost feel the their frustration at the contemporary music scene as they blaze their way through a scorching blues-rock set full of impassioned performances and big grooves.

As the bands mission statement suggests the album: “is more than a random collection of songs. It is a deliberate reaction and response to the state of modern music”.

‘Born Certified’ is an unadulterated ‘live in the studio’ set on which front man Mike “Wezo” Wesolowski stars with an imposing harp tone that brings an extra dynamic layer to the material. And when he applies his lived-in-growl to 13 familiar sounding songs the band is able to successfully twist and turn them to their own ends.

‘Born Certified’ starts out as a rock record but ends up a high-octane blues album with crossover potential to die-hard rock fans. You could be forgiven for thinking this is a classic retro style biker band, but that would be to overlook their fine playing and original arrangements stamped with their own DNA.

Mike Wesolowski’s  deep toned harp solo sets a consistent standard on the Ry Cooder/Terry Evans penned ‘Got To Keep Moving’, as the band palpably thrives on the intensity of the solos and the depth of their grooves.  On those rare occasions when they curiously fail to spark as on Lennon’s ‘Cold Turkey’,  Mike’s harp steps in to ignite the track and spark the guitars on a song that requires a harder rhythm track.

However, its a temporary glitch as Mike’s opening vocal on ‘I Went Down’ evokes early Beefheart. The band also rock’s out on the stop-time ‘Wezo Needs A Shot’, on which Mike’s phrasing sounds like  Luther Allison’s old side-kick James Solberg – all husky voice and total commitment to match his trademark burning harp line.

His vocal is curiously mixed back on John Nemeth’s ‘My Baby’s Gone’ which provides contrast to a thoughtfully sequenced album, while the Terry McMillan penned ‘Cold Day In Hell’ emphasizes the harp part on a mean Chicago sounding slow blues.

They also re-ignite the Walter Trout’s song ‘Willie’ from last year’s ‘Blues Came Callin’ album, showing that they have real vision to match their passion and drive.

Guitarists Rob Slater and Gino Grandinetti stretch out on ‘Prison Of Love’ and the jangly motif of ‘I Can’t Sleep’ could be Creedence Clearwater.  The album settles for a harp-led finish on ‘Rooster Blood’, a live cut on which you can hear Mike cajoling the crowd into a better response.

There’s no half measures with either the band or their music, and as a result ‘Born Certified’ is a rip roaring old school album played with the kind of passion and fire that makes it a living breathing celebration of retro rocking at its best.  ****

Review by Pete Feenstra

Pete Feenstra presents his Rock & Blues Show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Tuesday at 19:00 GMT, and “The Pete Feenstra Feature” on Sundays at 19:00

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