The Arrogant Bastards, a Muddy award finalist for best new band, is a five-man outfit playing straight ahead blues-infused rock, or is it rock-imbued blues, or maybe just funky blues-rock — really it doesn’t matter much though, since this six-song EP is simply a boat-load of fun as it steams along through its musical voyage.
The Bastards are “Big Daddy” James Kosek (who also serves as executive producer) on drums, Brad Bleidt on keyboards, John O’Connor on bass, Michael Umbach on lead guitar, and Paul Wyss on rhythm guitar and vocals. Together they’re a tight, brawny band playing aggressive music with some hard bark on it. Two tracks stand out for me — “Back to the Bottle” with its groovy interplay between Bleidt’s jazzy electric piano and Umbach’s feisty guitar is a keeper and alone is worth the price of admission, and “Beer, Sex and Cigarettes, a slow, gritty blues number with some choice vocals, more superb musicianship, and that basks in the smell of the protagonist’s cheap perfume. It’s the latest in a long line of tunes lamenting wayward women and it captures the genre nicely.
The productions is fine, maybe a bit too clean actually. This is flinty, vigorous music with a fair amount of grit and spontaneity — I’d love a live album from these guys — and the CD seems too bright for such tough music.
Ah, but that’s just a quibble — this is an EP that oozes promise from every note. Please, Sirs, may we have some more?
Total Time — 26:59
Blues Shuffle / Skin The Cat / Beer, Sex And Cigarettes / Wanna Be Your Daddy / Back To The Bottle / Made In China
Reviewed by Randy Murphy