Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
First, let me do a little disclaimer. I am personal friends with the band. I truly like all of the members and all of them have treated me like family when I have gone to see them. That notwithstanding, this album is absolutely flawless. That is my professional opinion and not at all influenced by my personal feelings.
Now that I got that out of the way, I can say that I am immensely happy for the band because this truly is a great alum. Great lyrics, vocals, and instrumentation. Jeremy Siegrist, the lead vocalist, has a great raspy voice that sets the stage perfectly for the instruments and the backing vocals provided mainly by Lynne Siegrist, who happens to be Jeremy’s lovely wife and band mate who sings, plays guitar, and plays mandolin.
The rest of the band rounds out nicely with Jeff Brogan on bass, Andy Brogan on lead guitar and David Gregory on drums. All of the band are extremely talented musicians, but Andy Brogan is a true guitar virtuoso. His playing is so clean and profound that it causes me to shake my head in disbelief quite often.
Rustbelt Renaissance shows the growth and maturation of The Typical Johnsons. There is still plenty of aggression and power, but it is tempered with smoother backing vocals and a clear conclusion that these guys (and gal) are honing their skills. Yes, they are improving even though it seemed that there was little room for growth after 2016’s The Sailor & The Siren. I was totally smitten with that EP and didn’t think they could top that effort. I was wrong.
Let’s get down to the music, shall we? I am immediately drawn to Liar (Track 3) which features Lynne Siegrist with lead vocal duties. This is her first song where she sings lead and she nails it. Her lovely voice compliments the boys perfectly.
She is the touch of sweetness in an otherwise savory endeavor. The song is about, well, a liar which seems to be tied to a bad relationship. It is a very powerful song that is extremely well executed.
That song is immediately followed up by Have Heart, which is an upbeat rocker about staying positive and believing in your dreams. It is a perfect song for this album and can serve as an anthem for The Typical Johnsons and all of us.
I hope they have heart because I think they are on the verge of some much deserved success.
Another song that deserves mention is Saint Jennifer (Track 5). This is a beautiful song
that sways between serene and hard rock. The tipping point is the truly wonderful lead guitar work on this song which is as good as any out there in popular music today.
I am not sure that I need to make a recommendation here since I believe the review speaks for itself. However, in the case that some people may not be paying attention, I give Rustbelt Renaissance a strong buy recommendation. You can take stock in that opinion!
Listen to the entire album on Soundcloud