Propelled by some serious classic rock swing (wailing guitars division), “Graffiti of the Young Man’s Mind” comes to us in 2014 from another place and time. And yet what might have seemed a retread hits my ears as an all-out re-imagining of both what rock’n’roll was and can yet be.
The key, to me, is the combination of dirty, garage-y production and some serious chops, which together accentuate the fiery, contemporary presence this band has. I have, since about 1983, been tired of bands that dial up a few basic blues riffs, add some guitar pyrotechnics, and strut around like saviors of rock’n’roll. Personally, I find a lot more potential for redemption in a band that can snake some vivid guitar work through a heavy 5/4 (!) groove and find a sticky hook in an abbreviated howl of a melody. Front man Gregory Ferreira has a blessedly unfashionable voice, cutting loose like an errant blues-rocker from 1974, minus the posturing that often afflicts the trade.
For all of the retro sound involved here, I would suggest that The Bushwick Hotel is actually offering cutting-edge music, since by now, on the digital music scene, there may be no more revolutionary stance to rummage through the vault of generic classic rock for a spirited new sound, all the while playing three-dimensional instruments in real time and space, in communion with others. And, surely, no software program is going to lead you to swing with electric guitars over a 5/4 beat. I’m not exactly sure what’s up with the extended fadeout, except to note that this is the last track on the album, so it may have more resonance in that context.
“Graffiti of the Young Man’s Mind” is the title track from the band’s debut, a seven-song, 28-minute album that came out in November, available via iTunes. Thanks to Largehearted Boy for the head’s up.