Review Summary: Vintage Blues rock with some slight cosmic twists.
Chris Robinson's infatuation with classic rock has always played a major role in his songwriting. A musician whose creativity was birthed by the soulful tone of old fashioned southern blues, and the enthralling sounds of legendary rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Cream, and his Georgian ancestors, The Allman Brothers Band. These musical influences were always more than evident both in his solo efforts and with his primary group, The Black Crowes, so it's practically inevitable for us to assume that his latest artistic endeavor, The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, would follow along a similar path.
The group's first album, Big Moon Ritual
, radiated a sound that was all too familiar. It's music ventured in typical Blues rock compositions, but it also incorporated some exploratory flourishes of cosmic psychedelia that added a sense of mysticism to the listening experience. It was a beautifully orchestrated album, and the mergence of these two contrasting musical styles within the songs made them all the more alluring. The Magic Door
is a continuation of a similar nature, and doesn't necessarily pioneer into any new territory, but it's just as entertaining as its predecessor. "Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go"
opens the album, and the music immediately begins to float along a very bluesy groove. Every aspect of the music works thematically to create a very upbeat melody that makes the song so irresistibly infectious. The guitar work on the album, and particularly in "Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go"
, is very reminiscent to that of Cream. From the Slowhand-esque guitar solos to its indulgence in Wah-wah effects, Neal Casal conspicuously channels Eric Clapton to execute some truly captivating notes. "Someday Past The Sunset"
, on the other hand, expresses a much more melancholic mood. The repetitive rhythmic drive being exuded from the guitars and Chris Robinson's downtrodden vocal harmonies, coalesce so exquisitely to recreate the very essence that makes the blues so emotionally inviting.
"Vibration & Light Suite"
and "Sorrows of a Blue Eyed Liar"
exhibit the more exploratory approach of the album, as they are both long voyages into a more elaborate display of musicianship. "Vibration & Light Suite"
is perhaps the main highlight in this collection of songs. The guitar and keyboard performances are the most impressive aspect of the song, which in the beginning flow on a sensuous melody to induce a mellow and pleasing sound for the senses. But as the song progresses and descends into a more psychedelic environment, both instruments coincide as they indulge in atmospheric and ambient effects to provide a cosmic passage for the listener to wander into. "Sorrows of a Blue Eyed Liar"
is a bit more dreary, and has us drifting along a nebulous cloud of trancing sounds. And like "Vibration & Light Suite"
, the intimacy between the guitar and synthesizers are the primary catalyst that help drench the music in aquatic echoes. Overall, The Magic Door proves to be a very rewarding experience. It may not offer anything that we haven't already heard before from Chris Robinson, but it is at least a host to some truly mesmerize tunes. And in reality, that is a musician's one and only task, to simply entertain.