Reviewed by Stephen Krock
Listening to Stephen Kellogg’s newest solo effort, Blunderstone Rookery, one can practically hear the panties dropping and see the bras being thrown to the stage. His voice goes down smooth like an ice cold bottle of Coke and he uses it with such bravado and confidence that is downright sexy. There’s no other word for it.
The best part about Kellogg’s voice is that he can do almost anything with it. He can give it a folksy warble, a country twang, and a pop swagger. And he does all these things. We open with “Lost and Found,” a very singer/songwriter-ish entry. Just when you think you have the tune figured out, though, there is a gorgeous rainy spattering of piano keys at the bridge. It sets the tone for an exciting mix of genre to follow. The absolutely perfect “The Brain is a Beautiful Thing” comes up next, full of killer hooks, a rock country beat and some amazing sax. And even though it contains potentially eye-rolling lyrics such as, “I still believe in the working class / No matter what you do, you’re going to have to bust your ass / Just ’cause somebody wears a suit and tie / Well that don’t mean he’s not like other guys,” that infectious confidence plows through it. Then you can’t help but echo, “It’s all right!” when he declares so in the chorus.
After the delightful, but not entirely memorable, smattering of country tunes, we arrive to the aptly titled, “The Best.” It’s an anthemic song that begs to be sung along to. This leads into the epic Americana tale, “Thanksgiving,” which is a staggering ten minutes long. Kellogg’s charisma miraculously keeps the track from falling victim to entropy.
While just a few songs shy of perfection, I can certainly say that – and I’ve always wanted to say this – Blunderstone Rookery is a triumph.