Mary Jane the debut album from Dead White and Blue has in many ways been twelve years in the making though that is not quite the true story. The band/album is the invention of Arizona vocalist/guitarist Russell Workman, a musician who had previously played in various bands around Phoenix, artists who had supported the likes of Iron Maiden, Dio, and Korn. Laying down his self-penned tracks for the album at the Tim Rastas Studio in Tempe in 2001 everything was going to plan until Workman was arrested and sentenced to 6 years in prison for a minor drug charge. The experience brought his thoughts and determination into keen focus. In 2012, after trawling through vaults and closets for the raw master tapes of his unreleased album, Workman was ready to bring it fully to life, setting to work overdubbing and updating certain sections of songs, re-mixing and finally mastering his long overdue release. Bringing in long term friends bassist Mykel Sane (John Waite, Saigon Saloon, Faster Pussycat), guitarist Harry McCaleb, and drummer Rich Contadino to make a full line-up, Dead White and Blue emerged hungry to ravage the senses and the world of dirty unbridled rock ‘n’ roll.
Consisting of eleven raucous, riotous, and rapacious confrontations bringing the essences of bands such as Murderdolls, Motley Crue, and Sex Pistols into their own voracious adventure and spite, the album is not unearthing new ground but considering the songs were written and created well over a decade ago you feel at the time of its birth the it was ahead of the game at the time. As the lead off track and first single from the album Take launches caustically at the ear attention and senses are immediately awoken with a seed of good appetite also finding its bearings as the vocals of Workman and the great fiery riffs make their presence firmly known. Expecting the track to explode into a fury of energy it wrong foots with a lumbering almost doom lit twist before unleashing the full intensity of the track with rhythms and guitars offering a compelling abrasion and the bass prowling it all with saliva dripping malice. The song continues to bring an ever evolving unpredictable venture, a seamless flow of ideas and direction which makes captivation and hunger an easy response.
From the strong and riveting start the album continues to impress, the title track coming next to roughly dance with the senses whilst littering its antagonism with infectiousness and easily accessible pop rock hooks. Its successor Dragonhead steps up after equipped with a punk belligerence merged into a glam rock nearing wantonness. Though neither matches the opener they more than leave a satisfaction which is lingering and ripe for more.
The likes of the snarling California, a track with sultry climes designed by the excellent sonic flames of the guitars, and the magnetically jagged Hot Wheels add gripping highlights to the release but it is as Suitcase Punk steps up that the album really lights up thoughts and senses once more to new levels. Bursting from a sonic spiral riffs and rhythms charge rabidly through the ear whilst around them punk bred intensity coaxes adrenaline into rabidity. With Dead Kennedys like contagion and a Fuckshovel styled delivery, the track is a virulently addictive confrontation, its grooves and hooks magnetic lures alongside simply irresistible riffs. Easily the best track amongst it is fair to say nothing but well-crafted and enthralling brawls, the song leaves on a high which the following Soul Thief runs with to great effect and pleasure. A rawer destructive intensity sprawls over the vocals and their at times vacuous production, whilst guitars and bass create an intensive squall of sound and predation sparking another wave of insatiable devouring.
Completed by the pleasing Let The Dead and the outstanding and incendiary Burning In Hell, a track which sears the flesh of the ear whilst scorching the senses, Mary Jane is a thoroughly enjoyable and thrilling release. Though its pinnacles do leave some of the other songs in shade at times, not one departs without having taken the listener on an energy driven creative ride of undoubted pleasure. Dead White and Blue is a band to keep an eye on; here’s hoping it is not another twelve years before another treat.
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