11 Songs, 52 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The John Butler Trio’s folk- and blues-based style of jam rock has given them room to stimulate thinking as well as compel a crowd to dance. On Flesh & Blood, the Australian combo get even more reflective than on past releases, exploring the polarity between commitment and freedom with a stubborn sense of hope. John Butler reaffirms his broad emotional range as a singer, offering tender, self-revealing performances on “Spring to Come,” “Young and Wild," and “Wings Are Wide.” Tracks like “Bullet Girl” and “Only One” apply this sensitivity to sleek, radio-friendly musical settings with fine results. That’s not to say the trio doesn’t also show grit and fire; the nervous shuffle “Livin’ in the City,” the swampy, hypnotic “Cold Wind," and the reggaefied “Blame It on Me” have enough distorted riffage and hefty grooves to rock arenas from Sydney to Syracuse. Drummer Nicky Bomba displays his nuanced command of rhythm on galloping numbers like “How You Sleep at Night” and buoyant rave-ups like “Devil Woman.” Smart and substantial, Flesh & Blood packs a mighty punch even as it aims for the heart.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The John Butler Trio’s folk- and blues-based style of jam rock has given them room to stimulate thinking as well as compel a crowd to dance. On Flesh & Blood, the Australian combo get even more reflective than on past releases, exploring the polarity between commitment and freedom with a stubborn sense of hope. John Butler reaffirms his broad emotional range as a singer, offering tender, self-revealing performances on “Spring to Come,” “Young and Wild," and “Wings Are Wide.” Tracks like “Bullet Girl” and “Only One” apply this sensitivity to sleek, radio-friendly musical settings with fine results. That’s not to say the trio doesn’t also show grit and fire; the nervous shuffle “Livin’ in the City,” the swampy, hypnotic “Cold Wind," and the reggaefied “Blame It on Me” have enough distorted riffage and hefty grooves to rock arenas from Sydney to Syracuse. Drummer Nicky Bomba displays his nuanced command of rhythm on galloping numbers like “How You Sleep at Night” and buoyant rave-ups like “Devil Woman.” Smart and substantial, Flesh & Blood packs a mighty punch even as it aims for the heart.

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