Left Lane Cruiser have been making solidly dirty, crunchy two-man blues for 10 years now. Each time out they upped the ante a bit, adding a little more grit and grease. Now that guitarist and vocalist Freddy J IV is the only remaining original member, he’s changed things up a bit by taking that two-man dynamic and making it a three-piece with drummer Pete Dio and bass and skateboard (yep, stringed skateboard) player Joe Bent. The result is the balls to the walls Dirty Spliff Blues. There’s no denying that Clarksdale, Mississippi by way of Fort Wayne, Indiana by way of Hades death blues vibe. It’s blues as heavy as anything you’ll hear on Relapse or Tee Pee Records. Has the sound changed that much? A little more low end and a little more growl, but it’s still the straight up blues you’ve grown to love. Maybe a little hazier and stickier.
“Tres Borrachos” blows out of the speakers like a unholy mixture of Corrosion of Conformity and Jas Mathus and his Knockdown Society. It’s low down boogie-woogie from the fires of hell or an ash-covered car seat. “Elephant Stomp” is soggy from dank water and the spirit of RL Burnside. It crawls and creeps. Giving the LLC sound some low end in the form of bass does nothing but make their sound that much better. That point is proven by this song.
“Whitebread N’ Beans” moves steady and solid like a muscle car through downtown looking for action. “Tangled Up In Bush” and “Heavy Honey” falter in their own chugging pistons and pedestrian lyrics, but side two opens with title track “Dirty Spliff Blues” and erases any mediocrity we may have heard previously.
Elsewhere “Skateboard Blues” goes old school with some great skateboard guitar slide and Chicago-style blues, while album closer “She Don’t Care” blows some powerhouse blues right into our faces, leaving us buzzing long after the album ends.
Left Lane Cruiser have been a staple in the two-man blues scene for a decade now. Even with that two-man operation becoming a three-man outfit, the mission statement still seems to be the same: keep it authentic and keep it loud. Freddy J IV and his new cohorts are indeed keeping things authentic and loud. Dirty Spliff Blues is another fine installment in the Left Lane Cruiser canon.