After ten years of band history, The Blue Stories release their second album on 19th March 2021. After the blues rockers got quite some good reputation in the recent years, I was really looking forward to the ten songs of Hidden Gems.
The Blue Stones – About The Artists
The Blue Stones are an alternative blues rock duo from Windsor, Ontario. The Canadian city is the Southern / Canadian part of Detroit. The two band members, who collaborate since 2011, are Tarek Jafar and Justin Tessier. They started their career with two EPs in 2011 and 2012. In 2015, they debuted on the album side with the eleven track Black Holes. The title track went third in the Canadian Rock (singles) charts and also made a reasonable chart entry in the US Alternative charts. The album also had another successful single, Be My Fire.
Since 2019, the band is releasing songs which are part of Hidden Gems. The first single, Shakin’ Off The Rust topped the Canadian Rock Charts.
The Blue Stones – Hidden Gems – Track by Track
The ten track album lasts 39 minutes.
1. Lights On
Lights On starts with powerful electric guitars and definitely not less powerful vocals. The distorted sound of The Blue Stones rather gives a touch of alternative rock than a reference to blues. Definitely a nice starter.
2. Shakin’ Off The Rust
You think too much!
It’s in my head
So I’m shaking off the rust and
You’ve got no trust!
It’s in my head
So I’m shaking off the rust
I think I broke just a little bit
Walked through the fire, made it back again
Lord knows I tried everything I can
Now I’m shakin’ off the rust
Shakin’ Off The Rust comes a bit slower and has a nice groove. The nice interaction of the vocalists in the song adds a lot of presence to the sound of the album’s single.
3. One By One
After listening to the first two songs, you might be surprised that some website call the Canadians a blues rock band. Glad that there is One By One on the third position. The song is definitely more a rock track than a song for the B.B. King Blues Club stages, but you feel a strong in groove in this song. One By One is also driven by the drums, which feel very present in the song.
Careless comes in a very different style. There is a continuous rhythm (which reminds a bit of the one in One By One) and background sounds – but overall, the song is concentrating on the vocal. Jafar and Tessier do this song in stlye – I definitely enjoy listening. No chance for the fast forward button!
Grim following Careless is an interesting order. The songs are not that different in structure, there is just more instrumentation in Grim. Does the song feel more complete than Careless by that? No, some guitar riffs even rather feel disturbing to me. The verses even come with a hip hop touch – it is a bit too much for me.
6. Let It Ride
Let It Ride is a nice alternative rocker with a good potential of interaction with the audience on the next The Blue Stones tour. The electric elements towards the end are a bit too much to me – the more I enjoy the lovely guitar play in this song. Nice!
7. LA Afterlife
The main background tune and the bass give a very groovy background – even though the drum setting gives a touch of synthpop to the song as well. I like this instrumental setting of the song – even though I cannot relate to the song itself too mich.
The elements The Blue Stones in the songs are very similar. Thus, there is always the chance to bore the listener – or that the audience is skipping the whole album instead of a single track. Thus, some people might not make it to the eighth song of the album, Spirit. Bad luck, as this single is definitely one of my favorites. I like the continous rhythm paired with the powerful guitars in here.
9. Make This Easy
Make This Easy is a slow song, which simply does not touch me. Do they have the same drum computer setting in every song, by the way?
Oceans introduces some more groovy parts. I like the melody and the vibe of the song, especially when the guitars are more strongly involved towards the middle of the song. A pleasing finish of the album.
The Blue Stones – Hidden Gems – Spotify
Here is the Spotify widget to the album:
The Blue Stones – Hidden Gems – My View
I am sending a sorry to Ontario. I feel that there is somehow a nice touch on Hidden Gems. But I also need to say that I feel that I listen to the same stuff again and again. There are different lyrics, of course, and the songs are different, no doubt. But the ingredients which this duo has been using to set up this album just feels to limited to me. The rhythm is not the same one every song – but it just feels to me like that. Other elements feel to pop up here and there to me repeatedly as well. Thus, this album is not convincing to me.
Canadian Media/Music Reviews
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