CD REVIEW: S&M - What are We Waiting For (2011)
By: Cyrus Rhodes
"goes down smooth like a shot of Gin"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
CD: What re we Waiting for
Label: Bloody Mary Records
Genre: R&B, Americana, Southern Fried Rock
Sounds Like: Allman Brothers, Pearl Jam, Bob Segar
Technical Grade: 9/10
The CD kicks things off with “The Road to Heaven” a peaceful intro piece that serves up acoustic rock groove against driving rock rhythm, meshed with an infectious bluesy-rock melody that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. I especially like how this piece builds up well towards a grand slam of a chorus. Track 2 “All Alone” dishes out yet another solid track with its passionate, heartfelt vocal delivery by Woodruff, solid bluesy rock groove and impressive lyrical content. Track 3 “I’m Stoned” features Lindie Woodring on vocals and goes down smooth like a shot of Gin with its well-placed harmonies, heartfelt vocals and impressive mandolin licks. The CD makes a solid first impression dishing out 3 rock solid songs in a row. As the CD unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Bob Segar, Black Crows, Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead, R.E.M. Gordon Lightfoot and even Pearl Jam. Right from the start you will notice Woodruff and company feel quite comfortable just letting it all hang out musically, not holding anything back. The overall musical vibe has a Southern Fried Rock feel to it with a touch of Americana-Rock-Blues. The bands playing is rock solid across the board as they dish out some impressive bluesy guitar licks against a rock steady rhythm section. Equally as impressive is Woodruffs vocal presence and harmonies as he takes several vocal risks throughout the CD indicating to me a strong and confident vocal ability. Woodruffs voice is full of passion and recklessness abandon. Woodruff clearly makes the (singer to listener) vocal connection with his singing. The songs themselves are short and sweet musical experiences, each one possessing unique personality, flair and signature groove in classic Jam Band fashion. From passionate “Dark Before the Dawn” to my personal favorite “What are we Waiting For” to heartfelt “I’ll be There” and “Everything” to upbeat I Aint Jesse James” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Bittersweet Honesty” the perfect finale statement.
The overall mix lacks what I would call continuity song to song and doesn’t compare to other world class productions within this genera. Drums (especially share sound extremely thin on a few songs and lack solid low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. Mixing will always be the biggest make or break for any production. Each phase of the production process (recording, mixing, mastering) should be handled by a seperate and experienced professional – especially the mix. I will add that because the songs are so amazing this issue is virtually transparent to most listeners. Track 1 and 2 sound a bit awkward fading out the way they do and sound like incomplete statements. In my opinion the bands name and cover art concept don't coincide with their amazing sound and image.
What are we Waiting For by S&M is a solid debut statement. Song for song, note for note it has an amazing feel good groove to it. It’s strong suit – the song for song rock solid consistency and amazing vocal presence of lead singer Ed Woodruff. At the end of the day this CD possess allot of powerful emotions and touches on some amazing subject matter. If S&M has a slam dunk live presentation then that would make a pretty lethal combination. So if you like rock that dishes out rock-bluesy type ditties reminiscent of classic Allman Brothers, Pearl Jam and Gordon Lightfoot then you should jump into this CD head first.