"Hot Blood" (Dim Mak Records; 2002)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

"Hot Blood," Bluebird's second full-length disc, is chock full of riff-oriented musical stylings that comes across like a tempered Queens Of The Stone Age or a bluesy, rock-focused Foo Fighters. But the musical comparisons don't end there. The band's sound also reminds me of what Bob Mould's post-Husker Du band Sugar would sound like if they were more of a rock band instead of a post-hardcore/indie wonder band. So yeah, it ain't metal, but it is heavy rock for the most part, and that's good enough for me.

On "Beautiful Believer" a touch of the sound of post-hardcore/pre-emo rockers Handsome made in the mid-90s is also present. On "Kill The Lights" Bluebird break out the fuzz pedals and get a Mudhoney/grunge-like vibe going in all directions. "Lies Disappear" has a punkified, up-tempo Pearl Jam sound that smokes of raw energy. "Forms" demonstrates how the band is able to really stretch a song with dirges and droning for a maximum hazy effect. As you might guess from this paragraph there is a significant amount of variety on "Hot Blood" to make it a good and engaging listen throughout.

One could also argue that Bluebird could benefit from the recent fascination with The Strokes, The Hives, The Vines, and other bands that start with 'the' and end with an 's'. There's enough up-tempo rock on "Hot Blood" to benefit fans of the latest garage rock fad (no insult intended for those particular bands enjoying elusive critical acclaim).

The bottom line is that "Hot Blood" is a retro-drenched throwback to the days when music simple and, for the most part, free of angst and aggression. I like "Hot Blood" a lot so take my 'two and half chainsaws' rating with a grain of salt. Right now, Bluebird have to compete with the latest releases from Dark Tranquillity, In Flames, Meshuggah, and Killswitch Engage for listening time and that's tough competition. Also, that's enough to tell you where my mind and musical inclinations are leaning at the moment. However, when the mood strikes Bluebird's "Hot Blood" would sound great in a rotation with Pearl Jam, Moke, Foo Fighters, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Mudhoney in the ol' CD changer.

"Hot Blood" was produced by Bluebird, mixed by Joe Baressi (Melvins, Jesus Lizard), and mastered by David Chepa (BRMC).

Bluebird is Sam Velde on vocals, Barry Thomas and Paul Fig (ex-Amen) on guitar, Jim Brown on bass, and Bryan Lee Brown on drums. Wayne Kramer (MC5) plays numerous guitar solos on "Hot Blood."

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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 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.