One thing you can say about The Routes is that it is a prolific band. Earlier this year, the band released In This Perfect Hell. Now the band has a new album called Dirty Needles and Pins, and it is full of the psychedelic sounds you've come to expect.
Some bands are adept at grabbing the listener's attention immediately. The Routes succeed at this with the opening notes of "You'll See". It starts with some bars of fuzzy, psychedelic guitar. Then the beat comes in like an explosion along with Christopher Jack's vocals. From the first notes to the last, this song is a throwback to 60s garage rock - including the fact that it is less than three minutes long.
That first song is a good indicator of what's to come. "I Ain't Convinced" is another song that explodes with raw, psychedelic sound. In addition to the wonderfully fuzzy tones, you also get a guitar solo in this one. It is fast and raucous just the way a guitar solo should be. The lyrics kind of sneak up on you because of the volume of the song. While lots of songs have been written about being unable to trust someone, Jack puts it pretty bluntly when he sings, "Think it's a cinch. I ain't convinced. Come and give me proof. I see right through you."
Most songs by The Routes are pretty short and punchy. By comparison "All I Find" is a marathon at 5:06. From the very first notes, the organ part of this song could just as easily have been recorded in 1967. As with most of the album, the guitar has a fuzzy sound. The tempo, however, is quite a bit slower than the rest of the songs, which helps to create the mood of the tune. When you hear this one, it's easy to imagine a music video for it. It would be in black and white, and it would be similar to "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane with a lot of cutaways between the guitar and the organ.
On "My Hardened Skin", the sound is richly textured. The rhythm is infectious with a beat that gets you tapping your feet or moving your head. Meanwhile the two guitars each provide a different layer of sound. The rhythm guitar provides a nice counter to the upbeat, fuzzy, psychedelic lead. You sense the sound swirling around you. The song reaches a crescendo at the end at comes to an abrupt stop.
This album is definitely a throwback. It might make you want to put on your favorite mod clothes and dance like you're in the intro to an Austin Powers movie. If you like psychedelic and garage rock, you'll enjoy this album. Dirty Needles and Pins (Greenway Records) will be available on Nov. 17.