"My Dynamite"

By The Sun Jester

Released by Listenable Records, My Dynamite's new album kicks off with "Take It or Leave", a bluesy shuffle particularly reminiscent of The Black Crowes. All of the pieces are here in the first song, the gritty guitar work, the swinging drums, the blues-drenched vocals, and a tight groove played with tremendous verve. Despite all of these essential ingredients for a rollicking good time, there is no individuality in this song. It treads familiar ground, but never really shifts into a higher gear. The band sound like excellent mimics, offering up a superb Black Crowes impersonation, but accomplishing little else. "Inside Out" kicks off with a great riff that lingers in the memory long after the song ends. Once again, the vocals betray a strong influence from Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes and, to a lesser extent, Steve Marriott of Humble Pie. The third song, "If We're Livin'", is the first song when I hear the band pushing beyond their influences and constructing something uniquely their own. The infectious, slashing energy of the guitar work drives the song and the vocals are wonderful. The next song, "Dirty Game", has strong slide guitar playing, but ends up sounding like a pale Rolling Stones imitation.

"Watch Yourself Grow" is another song that shows the band displaying an individuality missing elsewhere. The tempo shift midway through the song is unexpected and works spectacularly. What sets a song like this apart are things like the fast section and a particular perspective in the lyrics not found on Black Crowes or Humble Pie albums. However, the next song, "Raise Your Glasses", is clearly a much more commercially minded rock song, a blazing live number, but is sadly imitative in light of the great track preceding it. "Singing Stormy Weather" is a complete recovery and a wonderful, thoughtful ballad in every way. The interplay between guitar, bass, and piano is colorful, but the addition of steel guitar to the track is a stroke of brilliance. Deeply felt and moving.

 There's a very AC/DC'ish vibe to "Big Attraction" that appeals to me, but the song is another lightweight rock tune that makes insignificant gestures towards something more, but the feeling that this ground has been covered many times before is impossible to escape. "All That She Brings" is another great song on this hit and miss album. The band locks into a groove during the verses that is impossible to ignore and, in particular, the bass playing is a highlight. The vocals are impassioned and avoid any blatantly imitative moments. The album's final song, "Fork In Your Tongue", is a harrowing, gritty acoustic blues that, while short, is another great jam and a perfect closer to this album.

 My Dynamite wears their influences a little too prominently on their sleeve, but this album offers evidence that they can, want to, and will grow as songwriters. It is an inconsistent affair, but if you like straight ahead rock and roll that is not particularly original but rocks hard, even the weaker numbers here will appeal to you. However, keep an eye on this band. They are going to do so much more.