The Blue Highways head further down E Street on latest EP.
It’s no secret that The Blue Highways have an affinity for Springsteen. If the original content on their debut album, ‘Long Way to the Ground’, didn’t hint strongly enough at the boss and his back catalogue, a cover of ‘Cover Me’ was thrown in, presumably to put the message beyond any doubt. And on their latest offering, ‘I Wanna Party’, we find The Blue Highways once again paying homage to Bruce and his E Street companions.
Written in just over a week during the summer of 2020 – with no touring schedule to worry about – ‘I Wanna Party’ finds the The Blue Highways taking aim at that sacred, much revisited period for Springsteen devotees that produced ‘Darkness On the Edge of Town’ and ‘The River’. Aside from the obvious inspiration in the instrumentation, the EP is littered with lyrical references to that wonderful period and the records it produced. At various points across this four-song EP, we hear references to “the promised land”, “the edge of town”, as well as less direct references like being “sat down on the backseat” by Janey, racing out the door when “the clock hits five” and driving “the length of this land”. If it weren’t for the mentions of Bitcoin and Tesla in the title track, one could be forgiven for thinking it’s 1980 all over again.
Overall, this is an enjoyable stomp through some nostalgia laden rock ’n’ roll. Standing at the altar of Bruce is something The Blue Highways do very well indeed. While at times there is a risk that this EP strays into tribute act territory, it is perhaps understandable that in the midst of a global pandemic musicians should seek comfort in the familiarity of the artists that most inspire them. Breaking the mould can come later, for now diving into the river feels just fine.