"Wanna Play?" (Octopulse Records; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I was familiar with the namesake of Bloyd (i.e. Brian Loyd) from his 1994 release which I heard for the first time in September 2002 (see my review here "Gutted" proved to be an interesting listening experience as it was one of the few instrumental guitar records that actually sounded like it was born of its own genetic material without being a direct copy (or an inspired copy at that) of anyone else's musical style. It's hard to put into words, but I really appreciated hearing "Gutted" at the time. A quick re-spin of "Gutted" prior to hearing "Wanna Play?" actually made me feel a little guilty for not playing it more often over the last two years since I heard it for the first time.

The muse of Brian Loyd has now been birthed in a band called Bloyd that is far enough from his 1994 effort "Gutted" that it deserves its own name. Bloyd's music is aggressive without being one relentless sledgehammer guitar riff after another, the vibe is energetic yet with a dark undertone that hints at sinister things lurking under the surface, and the edgy nature of the songs isn't too overwhelming. Best of all, "Wanna Play?" actually sounds like a cohesive whole rather than a bunch of tunes thrown together.

Quite a bit of techno/electronica element and programming have been incorporated into the Bloyd sound. While I find the inclusion of techno and electronica to be somewhat annoying on a general level, Bloyd and his cohorts have managed to do an admirable job making "Wanna Play?" sound modern without sounding like dance music. Quirky noises and weird vocalizations provide an added dimension not often heard on instrumental albums.

I thoroughly enjoyed Bloyd's "Wanna Play?" Much like Brian Loyd's effort "Gutted" from 1994, the intervening 10 years have strengthened Loyd's handle on capturing his imagination in musical form. I am hopeful that Bloyd can put out new music long before the next ten years expire.

"Wanna Play?" was produced by Bloyd with the assistance of Jim Morris and Mark Prator. And, yes, it is the same Jim Morris and Mark Prator you're thinking of. Oh yeah, in case you needed to know, the production is phenomenal.

Bloyd is Bloyd on guitar and vocals, Reuben Blake on bass, and Howard Helm on keyboards, drums, sampling, and programming. Aaron Caillier contributes vocals.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 25 Feb 2019 21:42:45 -0500.