It’s great to hear rock n’ roll in 2014—even better to hear it from some of the greatest rockers of all time. You can count Jerry Lee Lewis and his crew in that category and 2014’s Rock and Roll Time shows us rock and roll is classic in any time. The songs range from Chuck Berry to Bob Dylan and the players range from Jerry Lee Lewis through Keith Richards, Robbie Robertson, Neil Young, and so on. So you put a great collection of tunes together with a great group of musicians and you get one hell of an album.
I remember seeing a documentary on Neil Young many years ago and he was actually a car collector back then, though he has changed his tune to a certain degree with global warming colouring most of our actions these days. We took a look at A Letter Home earlier this year and there is no notion of car collecting on it, unless it is as an art exhibit of how we used to live. Storytone furthers that separation from the consumer lifestyle, hurtling headlong toward an enlightened one. Though, when I think back on one of my favourite Neil Young albums of all time, it seems like he may never been a car collector in the Jay Leno sense of that term. Most of the songs from 1974’s On the Beach would work on Storytone.
I almost didn’t buy this album, honestly, despite being a Pink Floyd fan of forty years’ standing and despite having followed their every twist and turn. But I’m glad I did.
The Growlers sound retro but their choice of eras for “Chinese Fountain” is somewhat surprising—a little like when the Stones put out Emotional Rescue. It plays with disco while still having real lyrics and a sound rooted in the 60s. Disco, to me, is like eating tinfoil, not a good experience. But, just as with Emotional Rescue all those years ago, I like this flirtation with the mirror ball. The Growlers pull it off well in this instance. The rest of the album, though, is that surfer-inflected sound they’ve become known for, one they almost perfected on 2013’s Hung at Heart.