Review: Robert Jon & The Wreck – ‘Ride Into The Light’

According to that great bastion of truth – the internet – the definition of prolific is: “Fruitful or highly productive. A prolific songwriter can churn out five hit tunes before breakfast. A prolific writer cranks out two novels a year, and a prolific rabbit has baby bunnies every few months.” Or it could just say “See Robert Jon & The Wreck” because let’s be honest when it comes to being “Fruitful or highly productive” the recent output from the Southern California-based rockers would put even the most fertile and horniest rabbit in the world to shame. Coming off the back of their longest-ever tour – 67 performances in 75 days across 9 countries – and after the release of a critically-acclaimed EP, separate live multi-media bundle, and show-stealing Summer festival slots, Robert Jon & The Wreck are not just striking while the fire is still hot; they are the fire. And not only is album number gazillion ‘Ride Into The Light’ a triumph, it is the sound of a band ultra-confident in the knowledge that they are onto something here.

With a mixture of the 4 tracks that make up the aforementioned EP ‘One of a Kind’ and 4 more newbies, ‘Ride Into The Light’, doesn’t overstay its welcome, and is refreshingly fat-free. It also comes flying out of the traps with an album opener that sizzles. The opening blast echoes the fast, beefy breakdown in the Aerosmith classic ‘Sweet Emotion’, and helps make ‘Pain No More’ a barnstorming mix of duelling guitars and thick, sassy keyboards…and it grooves. It grooves big time. By the time the velvety-smooth vocals from main man Robert Jon Burrison come in, the listener has already turned the volume dial skyward and is indulging in the fierce guitar licks from perhaps THE secret weapon in rock music today – guitarist Henry James Schneekluth. The quiet, unassuming Schneekluth is further proof if needed that not all guitar heroes wear leather trousers and aviator shades, and he really does make it look easy.

As does Burrison who has one of those warm, welcoming voices that feels like an almighty hug on those days when you need a hug the most; especially on the Eagles-like tones of ‘Who Can You Love’, ‘West Coast Eyes’, and ‘Ride Into The Light’ (easy to imagine Don Henley singing this one) that cross many different borders genre-wise. Country rock, Americana, southern rock…one trademark Robert Jon hat fits all, but if the Eagles need a warm-up act on their ‘The Long Goodbye Final Tour’ before special guests Steely Dan start reelin’ in the years, then The Wreck are prepped and ready to go. ‘Come at Me’ is a fantastic, uptempo shit-kicker that gets the adrenaline flowing, ditto the slide guitar-fuelled ‘One of a Kind’ that comes complete with segments marked “Insert audience participation here”. The guitars on the latter wail, but it is the masterful arrangements that stick out the most; layers and layers of goodness.

‘Bring Me Back Home Again’ is just about edging ahead in the standout-moment-of-the-album stakes, thanks mainly to the organic mandolin tones, gorgeous, thick rolls from the organ, Schneekluth’s fiery riffage, and Burrison’s soaring vocals that makes the listener feel like they are standing atop a mountain with their arms wide open. The Tom Petty-esque ‘Don’t Look Down’ makes it a tight race though, and the catchy na-na-na refrains towards the end help give it a light, infectious feel.

An album that should come with a PMRC-style warning sticker declaring that “This album will cause bouts of involuntary dancing”, and yet another exceptionally strong album from a band that shows no sign of slowing down. A band building a following the old-school way: through hard work and putting in the miles. The forthcoming live shows are shaping up to be something special indeed.

‘Ride Into The Light’ is available August 4th via Joe Bonamassa’s Journeyman Records, pre-order here.

Review – Dave

Photo credit Rob Blackham of Blackham Images

EUROPEAN SUMMER – FALL TOUR 2023

8/25/23 Holzminden, DE – Weserrennaissance-Schloss Bevern
8/26/23 Herselt, BE – Gevarenwinkel Festival
8/27/23 Oberhausen, DE – Zentrum Altenberg
8/29/23 Copenhagen, DK – Beta
8/30/23 Joldelund, DE – Gerd’s Juke Joint
8/31/23 Köln, DE – Die Kantine – Biergarten
9/1/23 Regensburg, DE – Eventhalle Airport
9/2/23 Forst, DE – Manitu
9/3/23 Dortmund, DE – Musiktheater Piano
9/6/23 Amsterdam, NL – Melkweg
9/7/23 Bremen, DE – Meisenfrei
9/8/23 Isernhagen, DE – Blues Garage
9/9/23 Vollmershain, DE – Vollmershain Festival
9/10/23 Raismes, FR – Raismesfest
9/11/23 Verviers, BE – Spirit of 66
9/13/23 Exeter, UK – Phoenix
9/14/23 Nottingham, UK – Rescue Rooms
9/15/23 Manchester, UK – Academy 2
9/16/23 Liverpool, UK – 02 Academy
9/17/23 Newcastle, UK – Boiler Shop
9/19/23 Glasgow, UK – St Lukes
9/20/23 Leeds, UK – The Wardrobe
9/21/23 Bristol, UK – Thekla
9/22/23 Cambridge, UK – Junction
9/23/23 Southampton, UK – The Brook
9/24/23 Folkestone, UK – Quarterhouse
9/27/23 Le Thor, FR – Le Sonograf
9/28/23 Talcy (Blois), FR – Le Quai’Son
9/29/23 Penmarch, FR – Cap Caval
9/30/23 Herent, BE – GC De Wildeman
10/1/23 Winterbach, DE – Strandbar 51
10/2/23 Salzburg, AT – Rockhouse
10/3/23 Rimsting, DE – Feuerwehr
10/4/23 Frankfurt, DE – Nachtleben
10/5/23 Seon, CH – Konservi Seon
10/6/23 Basel, CH – Atlantis
10/7/23 Torgau, DE – Kulturbastion Torgau
10/8/23 Fulda, DE – Kulturzentrum

US FALL TOUR 2023

11/16/12 Monterey, CA – Golden State Theatre*
11/17/23 El Cajon, CA – The Magnolia*
11/18/23 Scottsdale, AZ – Scottsdale Center For The Performing Arts*
11/19/23 Albuquerque, NM – Isleta Resort & Casino*

11/25/23 Boca Raton, FL – Funky Biscuit
11/26/23 Jacksonville, FL – 1904 Music Hall
11/28/23 Charleston, SC – Charleston Pour House
11/30/23 Greenville, SC – The Radio Room
12/1/23 Cornelius, NC – Boatyard
12/2/23 Elkin, NC – The Reeves Theater & Cafe
12/3/23 Richmond, VA – The Tin Pan
12/5/23 Baltimore, MD – The 8×10
12/6/23 Warrendale, PA – Jergel’s Rhythm Grille
12/7/23 Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
12/8/23 Westland, MI – The Token Lounge
12/9/23 Aurora, IL – The Venue
12/10/23 Minneapolis, MN – 7th St Entry

*Supporting The Mavericks

For more information and to purchase tickets visit https://robertjonandthewreck.com

 

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