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Octane

Octane
Our Rating
4 Stars - Excellent
Average Rating
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Release Date
March 25, 2008
Label
Grrr Records

Sounds like … the bluesy classic rock of Resurrection Band, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, ZZ Top, John Mayer Trio, and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

At a glance … Octane is yet another solid effort from the Glenn Kaiser Band, again fusing faith with strong instrumental chops for an authentic blues-rock style.

With all due respect to the few other faith-inspired blues-rock artists out there, the Glenn Kaiser Band pretty much remains unchallenged as the best of the best. Granted, we're talking about a niche genre within a niche genre, but Kaiser's simply too good as an all-around singer/guitarist/songwriter, along with bassist/co-writer Roy Montroy and drummer Ed Bialach.

If there's any shortcoming here, it's that the band is so meat and potatoes as a basic power trio. We've heard albums like Octane from GKB before, limiting their sound without adding color via keyboards, horns, and backing vocalists. But what they may lack in variety and invention, the Glenn Kaiser Band makes up for with proficiency and authenticity. Besides, it's been at least 5 years since we've heard these guys release a new studio album in the same spirit as ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and of course, Kaiser's classic Resurrection Band.

Also, Kaiser and company avoid sounding overly repetitive by exploring the full range of blues-rock. Songs like "Broken Love" and "Trouble High Trouble Low" follow the familiar conventions of modern blues, but "Depends on Where You Stand" slows things down to a bar band simmer, enough for Kaiser to throw in some harmonica. Then "Bad Times" plays with a cruising shuffle while "U-Turn" delves into biker rock territory (which leads to a decent, if not predictable, gospel metaphor). Kaiser even resembles Robert Randolph ...

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