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Review: The Blue News, Wartime Songs

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The Blue News
Wartime Songs
3 stars

Wartime Songs, a new EP by the Terre Haute-based The Blue News, succeeds on the strength of its distortion, especially when it gets nasty, which is more than half the time. The two-piece band — comprised of Brent Orndorff on guitar and vocals and Dusty Richardson on drums — makes the old blues work when they get into the dirt and turn the amps up. Attempts at a clean, more contemporary sound lack the intensity of the rest of the record.

“Don’t Try to Be Anybody Else” features a driving acoustic rhythm guitar and simple snare drum that create an infectious groove. “Two Lovers,” which has some of the best guitar work on the EP, mines Black Crowes/Led Zep territory, with a distorted vocal and electric guitars over a Bo Diddley beat. “Hitman Blues” is John Lee Hooker-style rock and blues. Its gut-bucket guitar fills and a burning, slow groove scream should lend themselves well to a greasy live version.

“Just A Game” succeeds with guttural vocals and some jungle drums. ”Stay Gone for Good” echoes of Hendrix in its psychedelic intro and overamped vocals. “Hypnotized” is the only clunker, a Robert Cray rip, with vocals a bit buried in the mix.

The Blue News is a band to watch; I need to see what the live show is about because Wartime Songs sounds like it would glow when played at a club. The band plays at the Hendricks County Fairgrounds in Danville on Saturday, Sept. 10, and again on Oct. 29, both at 5 p.m. They'll be in Indianapolis Oct. 16 for the Slippery Noodle Blues Challenge.

Hear the album in its entirety at thebluenews.net.

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