Iron Bridge Band,
Against the Grain
(independent, 2016)

New Jersey's Iron Bridge Band hits the target with this release, a hard-rocking, melodic hybrid of classic rock, blues, occasional jazz licks and a hefty dose of southern rock. This band goes happily into the past to find the future, and it works; they come out with something familiar but unique, accessible but mysterious, rocking but thoughtful, emotional but intellectual.

Overall, the package succeeds. A couple of songs lean a little too closely to wornout classic rock cliches and formulas, but for the most part, the band's creative instincts keep them from falling into that trap.

"A Little Too High," which begins the set, is about the dangers and temptations of a musician's life. Lead singer Chandler Mogel, who wrote all of the lyrics for the album, sings about how he got "too high for Heaven and a little too close to Hell," while the guitar wails and the Hammond B3 sympathizes. There's sort of a Journey and America meet the Allman Brothers vibe to that song, and to much of the album.

The Allman Brothers influence is closer to the surface on "Raleigh" and "Every," both of which deal in different ways with love. "Raleigh" is about the search for love, while "Every" covers the satisfaction of having found it. Both feature hard driving arrangements that push the songs, give them a depth they might otherwise lack.

The Iron Bridge Band was new to me, and when "A Little Too High" first lit up my player, I was afraid I'd stumbled on another derivative rock band who were going to make me listen to overly familiar cliched classic riffs. It felt good to have my original conceptions shattered by a fine band.

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

8 April 2017

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