There is no argument there are generous spoonfuls of Hokie Joint magic distilled into the debut album by LaVendore Rogue, Light Up With; unsurprisingly as up front we have JoJo Burgess with his distinctive vocals and Joel Fisk stylish guitar with the award-winning Hokie drummer keeping the rhythm section under control Stephen Cutmore. Joining them on this exciting new venture is Rob ‘Tank’ Barry on Bass and the addition of keys from Warren Lynn.
The opening track Dead Man’s Chest, sets the market stall out with strong guitar quirky lyrics, huge sound and a story that unfolds as JoJo’s vocals draw you into the sound and you have been hooked, lined and sunk like any pirate with a bottle of rum would want to achieve. The next track The Maze as a sound that is new with more control and more mature with gentler vocals that lead you through the musical maze being set as the keys, guitar and gentle cymbal create a backdrop that is rocky and definitely one to get you energized and dancing.
The opening of Animal is gentle and beguiling with gentle keys and the swirl of cello, JoJo starts the story to be told a poem set to music sculpting the horror around the corner and then the tempo and character of the song changes and wow this is my favourite so far.
Half way through the album and you just want to shut out the world and immerse yourself, Riot is another tale that is more than a song it is a tale of society and reflects the riots that happened in London, the tempo and production is quiet, calm and measured with anger shimmering in the vocals and the measured tempo of almost funeral drumming. Joel’s guitar playing is elegant with licks that act as a punctuation to what is always important to this band the words are what counts the music is the powerful medium to showcase the message they are sharing.
The quality of Warren’s skills on the keyboard is apparent on A.S.A.D accompanying the haunting voice of JoJo as he builds the debate about drugs and the power of money and the tambourine is elegant and then there is a death and the message changes what a powerful track redolent of so much in the news today. Tattoo has an acoustic feel from guitar and the beat is modern with the undertones of Rock n Roll of the 1960’s there is certainly a feel of the Rolling Stones and JoJo’s vocals are jaggeresque.
The last track is the only cover choosing Warren Zevon’s, Play It All Night Long there is a frivolity in the playing the end of the party which belies the words as the irony of Sweet Home Alabama is played upon with the grim reality of life, then the notes fade away. La Vendore Rogue are a complete outfit building off each other’s talents, they will never be boxed in they just write, play and produce quality music you want to listen to again and again
Throughout the album there is a balance of tones and a symmetry between all the musicians so that the band has control of the material and JoJo has the freedom to play with the microphone so that every word has meaning and emotions are developed through the wonderful range of his warm voice at times deep and dirty and others teasing and gentle.
The album is independently minded in the construction of the lyrics the blending of tones and the vocals that have been moulded to suit the mood, and shape of the music poems that are never too long so the message doesn’t get lost in a clutter of chorus lines or unnecessary lead breaks.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of TEN ….
1. Dead Man’s Chest
2. The Maze
4. Honey Murder
6. Gangsters Thieves and Villians
8. Siesta Resistance
10. Day It All Night Long
* All tracks written by LA Vendore Rogue with the expection the final track; Play It All Night Long which was written by Warren Zevon.
JoJo Burgess – Vocals
Joel Fisk – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Stephen Cutmore – Drums
Rob ‘Tank’ Barry – Bass
Warren Lynn – Keys.