Electric Slave by Black Joe Lewis is a blues rock album with emphasis on the blues (though even some brass and funk’s thrown in). This blending of genres is no surprise, since Joe Lewis comes from Austin, Texas, where Southern soul meets mid-western blues, among other genres.
The title, Electric Slave, is apparently a not-so-subtle way of saying we’re slaves to our machines – not in a Terminator/Judgement Day sort of way, but a mindless, staring-at-Twitter-feeds-all-day kind of way.
The start of Electric Slave starts with full-fat distortion; sometimes it feels like he’s being noisy just for the sake of it, though it is done tastefully here. It’s loud, the music often drowning out Lewis’s voice, but maybe it’s just representing the noise we get from the internet, each social media site shouting for our attention.
I wish it didn’t have to be quite so loud – I actually want to hear his voice – his gritty, shouty, bluesy voice – though it’s not yet too gritty. He could still do with at least another ten years of heartbreak, smoking, and whiskey drinking before he sounds like his heroes.
Electric Slaves, Black Joe Lewis’s third album, skips around between gritty blues and danceable – most of the time this works, but sometimes the competing styles create an uncomfortable disconnect. The album, overall, is a success, but I do feel like Black Joe Lewis has some more maturing to do before he reaches his full potential – but it’s good to know he still has so much more in him.
Electric Slave was released on 18th November.