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The Brought Low | Right on Time | review | rock | Lollipop
The Brought Low
Right on Time (Small Stone)
by Brian Varney
There may not be a better currently active rock & roll band in the country than The Brought Low. The album's called Right on Time after a song that didn't make the album and partially, I assume, as a joking reference to the five-year gap between their debut release and this one. The solution, if this album is any indication, to the so-called sophomore jinx seems to be taking your sweet fucking time on the second album, too. As much as I loved the debut and waited anxiously for a second album, I can't argue with success, especially one on the scale of Right on Time.
This is a legitimately great album, and the reason for its greatness is as timeless as the songs themselves. Great songs are the most important part of any great album, and it's difficult for me to find fault with any these ten tracks. Opener "A Better Life" builds nicely from a spare, acoustic-driven intro into a full-blown rocker that'll have you checking the release date more than once, all with a hook that'll piledrive itself into your consciousness and haunt you. And then there's "Vernon Jackson," which I can honestly and without hyperbole say is among the best songs ever written. I've been listening to this song for a couple of years now, since it appeared on a disc of demos the band kindly shared with me, and although I've played it somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 times, its charms have yet to dull in the slightest. The lyrics, a simple and succinct tale of love between man and subway, are expertly drawn in the tradition of the finest Chuck Berry song, and the tune itself, which manages the neat trick of drawing classic heavyweights such as the Stones without sounding like them, is as timeless as the Les Paul playing the riff.
When discussing musical influences, the Mick Taylor era of the Rolling Stones is probably gonna dominate your conversation. Everything about the Brought Low, from the tunes themselves to the guitar tones, the production, even the sleeve art, screams "classic rock." This term is normally the kiss of death for any band wishing to sell records, attract an audience, or otherwise be taken seriously. The Brought Low may sound like a classic rock band, but there's a difference between merely sounding classic and being classic, and that difference comes from the songs. After all, the dictionary definition of the word "classic" includes phrases such as "belonging to the highest rank or class" and "having lasting significance." It's this, the true definition of "classic," that I reference when I call the Brought Low a classic rock band. These are some of the finest songs you'll ever hear, played as well as songs can possibly be played, and they're presented in such a fashion that they're likely to sound as out of time, as free from the concerns of any age, 20 years from now and they would've sounded 20 years ago.