For LaPush, it seems like Modern Blues sounds a lot like modern rock. Of course, the title of the trio's latest EP doesn't refer to the musical genre, but to the feeling of loss, heartbreak and bereavement. This can lead bands to write dreary, sad-sack mopers or, in the case of LaPush, turn the hurt into something grand and uplifting. Singer and guitarist Thom Donovan wrote the album-opening "Closer" after the death of his father, and it's as good of a send-off as anyone could want: The spacey guitar atmospherics and the alternately sad and hopeful lyrics are enough to bring a tear to the eye of a hard-hearted cynic.
Most band-produced albums don't sound this good; the EP is slick without being overproduced, and the studio flourishes are used in tasteful moderation (though the high-pitched, power-drill guitar solo in the plodding "I'll Leave the Light On" should have been axed). The pace picks up with "Brazil," a fuzzy, stomping slice of glam-rock that gives the band a chance to unload a little bit. LaPush's penchant for the grandiose is in full bloom on the last track, the existential, weighty "All the Lost Souls." Scattered rhythms leave room in the verses, and the gaps are plugged by plinking Fender Rhodes, compliments of guest Adam Maness (the song also features some earthy cello work from St. Louis native Richard Fortus, currently of Guns N' Roses). It's a proper closing track for a band caught between the vagaries of adult life and the eternal youth of rock & roll.
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