November 6, 2020

Black Stone Cherry – The Human Condition (Mascot)

Let me start with a few questions. Do you enjoy guitar-heavy blues music? Do you enjoy radio-ready rock music? Do you enjoy grungy, southern-tinged vocals with an ear for a catchy melody?

The four members of Black Stone Cherry sure do. As the world was pushing toward total lockdown, they were isolated in a Kentucky woods, finishing their 7th studio album. And let me tell you, they did everything I asked about above…

… in the shittiest way possible.

The guitar work is bluesy in the same way that pressboard is wood. His voice is great, and sufficiently throaty, but the lyrics are about as poignant as you’d expect from someone who looks like they worship Fall Out Boy and drink nothing but Genesee.

No joke at all though, I absolutely love these guys. Their songs are loud, catchy, quasi-nonsensical, and harmless. They sort of equate to AC/DC in the ‘70s, showing a talent that garage acts would kill for, but giving no kind of a shit about it. 

This is not art. 

This is not poetry.

It’s rock ‘n roll at its basest level, puerile and fun. 

Okay, so “If My Heart Had Wings” is a particularly egregious country/rock hybrid, a la “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing”, and actually contains the words, “If my heart had lips, it’d tell you all the things I miss.” Ugh. But “Again” is a riff-heavy banger about not giving up. At least, that’s my interpretation. The lyrics leave a lot between the lines. And “Ride” could have been a Deep Purple track left on the cutting room floor. 

The biggest surprise is the subdued cover of “Don’t Bring Me Down,” displaying the band’s ability to show respect for the classics. A trait not represented on their laughably terrible series of blues cover releases. 

To recap: This record jams, and as long as you’re not searching for enlightenment, you’ll be happy you gave it a spin.

FFO: Shaman’s Harvest, Alter Bridge, Seether


Read More »