Chris Parker of the Independent said it best about Eddie Taylor’s style: “Guitarist Eddie Taylor sounds like Billy Zoom strangling Jack White with his own guitar strings.” Chris Jones is the kind of drummer that could lead an army of jurassic proportions. These two come together as one of Raleigh’s most admired and talented bands. The Loners have been truckin’ along nicely ever since their resurrection at Kings in 2007 before it closed. Eddie Taylor and Chris Jones formed the Loners in 1999. They only had one self-titled album to their credit before calling it quits, or rather “a hiatus.” When Paul Siler announced that Kings was closing, he “set a fire under their ass” so that they could be part of the passing of one of Raleigh’s once great, but now missed institutions. Revolution! will be released via Durham’s Churchkey Records. The physical release of the album will be limited: 500 hand-numbered 12” vinyl LPs that include a coupon for free download of the entire album in MP3 format (320kbps quality). It will be available from local retailers, including Schoolkids, Chaz’s Bull City Records, Offbeat Music and CD Alley. It will also be available via Churchkey Records’ website. But for $10, you get a great show and a great audio artifact.
Revolution! leaps over its predecessor akin to the rabit that dons its cover. The album was recorded and engineered by Greg Elkins at Desolation Row in Raleigh. Elkins was at the helm for their self titled release on Mouthful of Bees Records. Recording a duo with no low end always runs the risk of sounding hollow, but that is not an issue on this record. The sound is full and brite and you almost forget for a short second that its just the two of them. The music hones the raw and hyper aggressive nature of garage rock.
Those familiar with The Loners sound will be taken aback by the first track. “Unicornacopia” is an instrumental that opens the album with its Zeppelin-III-esque strumming. Shortly after, the album really begins with “The Devil in You”, a song about people who “face the glow of their pipe.” Clocking in at almost 5 minutes, the song is an observation on the individuals who revert to things such as drugs to find relief in their daily lives. The reality check continues on “Breakdown Blues”, a story of a man who had it all together but somehow finds things going against his favor. The music rocks to such a degree that one could almost forget about the sobering lyrics and enjoy the riffage and brut beats. But the lyrics are an important element, so you can’t ignore them. Social issues make way for the personal ones with “Mine All Mine”. This song explores the agenda of a man in a bad relationship, but again, the music sounds like the person has already moved on. “Crank It Up” moves the listener away from the seriousness of issues, inviting them in a world where troubles go away as soon as someone turns up the volume.
The album’s title track is a short, sweet and a great way to start the second side of this record. Its poignant, especially when listening to the vinyl itself (“Gimme gimme gimme that revolution!”) Lyrically the song is home to one of the best lyrics on the album: “Love is the answer, Hate the motivator.” Overall, “Revolution” is part of the positive core of an album that’s surrounded by cautious and realistic perceptions. The man in “Mine All Mine” finds that same man in “Let Me,” the albums next track, moving on and well on his way to the goal he set in “Mine All Mine”. Taylor’s agitated riffs and the funky yet heavy drumming of Jones are bound to shake the listener. The mind could easily imagine intimate moments with a special someone. “Soul Shaker” carries this notion in full. “Hey baby/Show me what you got/Oh yeah, honey/You sure look hot” might seem fairly unassuming (not really), but later when Taylor sings “Wanna touch your fire/‘cuz your reign supreme/Got to have your lovin’/Know what I mean?” its pretty obvious. Yes, I think we’re all adults here.
“Lo-Fi Mofo” could either be a carry over of “Soul Shaker” or a homage to the garage-rock lovin’ mofo’s who are more prone to scooping up the limited edition. It could be the latter, but that combo of 6-7-8-9 form the positive and fun attitude of this album. “Join A Militia” is exactly what the title suggests the song to be about. Some conservative extremist might take this song as a form of treason, but what would expect from a band called “The Loners?” They wanna do it their way and no one can stop them. The song opens and closes with a riff that echoes notions of Black Flag’s “Rise Above”, another song about, obviously, rising above and taking charge of what’s going on. Making a difference sounds uplifting and positive and almost invincible. However, reality is always there to kick your positive thinking right on its rear end. The Loners do such a thing with “Out of Time”, the albums closing song. In four minutes, you are brought back to world where you look out the window and see a crack addict aimlessly trying to hide while taking advantage of the only thing that gets them through the day. “The rich, they get richer/ the poor, they get high” reinforces those thoughts. The songs sentiment is not overtly apocalpytic; its more like dropping something, breaking it and trying to figure out how to fix it. Meanwhile, other things are falling and breaking and you just got to figure out how to deal with the situation.
While a realistic perspective is key for these trying times, The Loners want to shake you out of that funk of the past 8 years. In a time where people question so many things while stumbling upon new questions, well, The Loners don’t have the answers. However, The Loners have made a record to help kick out the jams while you come up with your own answers.