Dax Riggs We Sing Of Only Blood Or Love

The title of this latest effort from formerly one half of Deadboy & the Elephantmen couldn’t be more accurate. From the opening bluesy chant of "Demon Tied To A Chair In My Brain,” Riggs and his band proceed to lead listeners through a dark and messy world. Like label-mates Heartless Bastards, there are echoes of Jeff Buckley’s sweeping dynamics ("Radiation Blues”) but mostly Riggs sounds like a cross between Nick Cave and the late Chris Whitley on songs like "The Terrors Of Nightlife” and "Living Is Suicide.” In such context, a cover of Richard Thompson’s "Wall Of Death” is therefore entirely appropriate, but somehow amidst all the carnage the band, anchored by guitarist/producer Matt Sweeney, rocks at a sufficient clip to keep up with Riggs’s often transcendent vocals. We Sing may be too intense for some but it’s the next logical step for the blues as they apply to these insane times in which we live. (Fat Possum)