Southern rock’n’roll but missing the groove.
With southern rock music making major inroads recently (see Jason Isbell, The Allman Betts Band and, a bit of an outlier, Lucas Nelson), Robert Jon, from California, along with his Wreckers might be considered to have jumped on the bandwagon. To be fair to them they’ve being doing it for over a decade and AUK has been quite unstinting in its praise for their record releases and live performances. That said, ‘Ride Into The Light’, their 11th album it seems, didn’t impress this reviewer much with several of the songs coming across as rehashes of numbers which were popular back in the FM radio days and, indeed, not the best songs they could have plundered.
The album arrives garlanded with credentials, the songs being variously produced by Don Was, Dave Cobb and Joe Bonamassa with the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allmans (natch) and the Eagles (?) mentioned in the PR blurb which accompanies the release. To be fair, there are elements of all of them to be heard here but Jon & The Wreck have a heavy-handed approach throughout most of the disc with little subtlety in evidence. While you are guaranteed to hear a scything slide guitar solo and a soaring organ on each of the eight cuts here, much of what made those bands great is missing.
Jon’s rough and ready voice at times reminds one of Bob Seger and when the band wind down somewhat as on the air wave friendly ‘Who Can You Love’ and ‘West Coast Eyes’ one can be transported back to when Seger’s ‘Night Moves’ wafted over FM radio. Unfortunately, this slight respite is overwhelmed by the sledgehammer approach on ‘Pain No More’ and the clumsy raunch of ‘One Of A Kind’, songs which might go down a storm in a live setting but fail to impress here. Overall, ‘Rise Into The Light’ lacks memorable songs and suffers from too much muscle memory.