There are certain genres of music that are associated with geographic regions. Speak of “Southern Rock” or “The British Invasion” or “The Seattle Sound” and instantly certain bands and songs come to mind. If someone mentioned the phrase “New York City Rock ’n’ Roll” what would you think? “Dark, gritty, raw, honest,” might be apt words to capture the feel of that sound.
Rob Carlyle is the songwriter, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and driving force behind The Compulsions. Ferocious is the project’s third album, which is due to be released on November 13. For this recording, Carlyle enlisted noted guitarists Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and Earl Slick, along with bassist Alec Morton and drummer Brian Delaney.
The opening track is the earthy Born On a Landfill which features a classic blues three-chord progression and slide guitar sound. The following track Band of Thieves veers off in a complete opposite direction with funky electronic effects and a weird keyboard sci-fi effect courtesy of Andrew Sherman. Funk #666 (gotta love Carlyle’s wry sense of humor with that title) has an extended wah-wah guitar workout from Thal. Speaking of humor, how about the song Dirtbag Blues which manages to use the words “Cocaine, blow job, Motorhead” and “rehab” all in the same verse? Man With No Name could be a song to a Western movie soundtrack.
There are two cover tunes on the album: The Rolling Stone’s Dead Flowers and Guns N’ Roses’ Dust N’ Bones. Instead of taking the easy route and doing straight covers, Carlyle has reworked both so they are almost unrecognizable from the originals. It was a risky move, but it pays off. Dead Flowers is revved up, torqued up, electrified—and the result sounds bold and fresh. In contrast, Dust N’Bones is slowed and stripped down with minimalist instrumentation. Again, it’s a big chance completely redoing a well-known song, but the result is unique and memorable.
Although the full album won’t be out for a while, the two cover tracks can be previewed on iTunes. It’s a nice little teaser on what’s new out of The Big Apple.