No steam-cleaned suits!

The reason pop heads steer clear of the traditional blues is that it offers no surprises — you know exactly where the chords will fall and how the narrative will end. Then some guy will tell you how his woman is messing up his head but he's going to play a guitar that's coincidentally shaped just like that woman. And by playing it/her, he'll try to make himself and lots of other people feel better. In analysis, that's called transference.

But here's what's likable about Toledo's Soledads: They never go down the predictable route; they just put down roots and then pull 'em out of the ground and start over on every song. Fans of the previous Voice of Treason will note a drop-off of distortion and a bumping up of clarity. And for you bottomless indie purists, there's only a glimmer of prominent bass, but it rumbles like December's Children. Despite his outspoken interviews, band-head Johnnie Walker doesn't hate the blues, only what it's become — a bunch of well-adjusted guys in steam-cleaned suits who forgot what was bugging them in the first place. With The Hardest Way you get the best of both worlds, a band that reveres Howlin' Wolf but presumes even he could've gotten a lot out of someone playing him Raw Power.


Friday, April 14, at the Magic Stick, 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700, with the Heartless Bastards.

Serene Dominic writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].

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