BLACKLIST UNION has been putting out great quality Hard Rock since around 2006. I thought their last album “Back To Momo” was amazing, but their latest “Letters From The Psych Ward” has blown away my expectations.
These are strong words, but they could be the “perfect” rock band for these times. Singer Tony West and his crew somehow have captured the sound of several genres and blended them into something modern and fresh, but still familiar.
There’s a feel of the 80’s and 90’s in the music, I hear stuff like AFI, Buck Cherry and even some of the more Industrial/Gothic stuff from the 90’s. What’s MOST important is West’s ability to write and sing great hooks with melody. It’s not too “pop” but yet has some of the same sensibilities.
What opened my eyes to their sound was when I got near the end to the DEVO cover “Gates Of Steel” and I realized that the band was pulling from that New Wave and Punk era as well. BLACKLIST UNION has some of the uniqueness as a band like DEVO, except they’re far more accessible. When you hear the two other covers, “Golden Years” from David Bowie and AEROSMITH’S “Mia” you get an even better idea what this band is all about and how their sound was developed.
There’s 13 tracks and a massive variety of sounds. There’s great mid-tempo stuff like “The Queen Of Everything” and “Dancing With The Angels”, then you get some kicking rockers like the title track, “Out On A Jones” and the more pure rock n’ roller “Velvet Girl”.
Overall, “Letters From The Psych Ward” is extremely enjoyable and give you hope for Hard Rock. There’s a lot of room to move around in the genre without tearing down the foundations.