The Bakerton Group

El Rojo

Written by: PP on 19/03/2009 15:00:23

The Bakerton Group is a side project of seminal stoner rockers Clutch, featuring all four members from the band on the same duties. Since 2000, they have released one EP and one full length album, which makes "El Rojo" their sophomore release under the moniker. But don't expect them to sound at all like their stoner rock day job, that would kinda be pointless, now wouldn't it? Instead, it's interesting to see how the boys have been able to seamlessly switch into an experimental groove act complete with jazz and blues influences.

Another key difference is that Neil Fallon has dropped the vocal duties to focus only on slide-guitar. That's right, The Bakerton Group are an instrumental-only band, and I for one think it's to their detriment. You've seen me rave about how boring bands without vocalists are, only to praise them thereafter for the fantastic instrumental landscapes and beautiful structures they've been able to craft (Scale The Summit, Don Caballero, Pelican, etc). It seems I've finally found a band that solidifies my point: instrumental only music is a boring excuse of real music, a pointless rendition of a the genre in question, if you will. In The Bakerton Group's case, the lack of vocalist is much more visible than in any of the other bands I've mentioned, simply because the guitar-driven, bluesy, experimental soundscape doesn't fill the void well enough.

Almost every song feels like it suffers from not having a vocalist, and having Fallon sing in his stoner-rock manner would transform the songs entirely. Even though most songs here average around the 3½ to 4 minute mark, they just seem to drag on and on and on because there isn't enough to keep the listener interested. Sure, I'll occasionally give the band credit for crafiting a hell of a groovy riff, a bluesy sound-effect, or things like that, but overall I just can't see who'd ever be interested in listening to "El Rojo" on the long run. That should be just about enough for you to make a decision as well regarding this record, so lets end the review here. Score is for applaudable instrumentation, but reflects the lack of vocalist.

5

Download: Life On Lars, Bien Clasico
For the fans of: Clutch, instrumental rock with a blues vibe
Listen: Myspace

Release date 17.02.2009
Premium / Soulfood / AFM Records

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