4. Bus Ride
5. Swing Low
6. Speak To Me
7. How Fast
Rocco DeLuca & The Burden is a band that surfaced all of a sudden. They make music that shows guts, intelligence, respect, boldness and a lot of passion. With vocals that are somewhere in the middle of Tom Waits & Robert Plant (for your reference) and songwriting that shows a maturity many new bands can only dream of, RDB is a name to watch.
“I Trust You To Kill Me” starts with the mid-tempo song Gift that has a bit of a Buckley feel for me. With the haunting and fulfilling sounds combined with DeLuca’s powerful yet emotional vocals, this musical plea for acceptance grabs you by the neck and doesn’t let go of you until it ends.
Dope has two things that stick out even more than others. Dobro & vocals. There’s just no getting around that. RDB creates a feeling of haste/hurry in this song, without making the song itself sound rushed. This is a remarkable quality that I have rarely seen executed so well as on this song.
The commercially attractive Colorful has a very modern feel about and is something even the Rolling Stones could be jealous of. Together with acts like Keaton Simons & Donovan Frankenreiter, Rocco DeLuca & The Burden show that this old bluesy rock & roll is still current and that, if done well, has a potential of being mainstream and catchy enough to actually do well on radio too. Colorful is extremely catchy and very accessible.
The gentle ballad-like Bus Ride is a nice change of pace and shows a different side of RDB. DeLuca has a way of making his vocals sound powerful and fragile at the same time, which creates the right kind of feel for this song. Bus Ride reminds me of U2 at times and of Rolling Stones and Tom Waits at other times. It has a certain feel about it that slowly draws you in and captivates you.
The Zeppelin-like, almost blues-rocker Swing Low has a good amount of agressiveness and guts in it that DeLuca bursts out convincingly. Instrumentally this song creates a full sound complete with the right loops, melodies and effects, and at the exact right times the sound makes way for the vocals. In a couple of years, songs like Swing Low will be referred to as classic rock, with class being the operative word.
Speak To Me
Speak To Me has a bit of a mellow grunge feel about it, like Pearl Jam pulls off at times. It’s a fun song, but by no means RDB’s best song on this album. It’s a song that has the potential to reach a slightly wider audience than some of the other songs because it’s quite accessible and just fun to listen to.
The energetic alt-rocker How Fast that has a Stone Temple Pilots agressiveness and a Stones-like melodic quality keeps a fast pace and infectious rhythm. That’s why the song title is so fitting. “How fast can you run?” sings DeLuca, and that’s exactly how this song feels. The speed and the energy, passion and class act rock & roll make this song an instant keeper!
Gravitate made me think of Bush and Blur for a minute, but at the same time the stomping drums and screeching guitars have a Guns N’ Roses kind of feel. But all in all, it doesn’t really sound like any of these band. It’s an up-tempo full-blast rock song that wouldn’t be misplaced in movies like Rock Star, with it’s excellent energy and anger.
Mystified hold the middle between a roots-rocker and a blues-rocker. This sensitive ballad is probably the best on the album when it comes to RDB’s slower-paced songs. The lyrics never get sugar-sweet but still the song has a sweetness over it that fits it just right. The gifted songwriter in Rocco DeLuca shines on this song, as well as the vocalist Rocco DeLuca. With expert support from the instruments, Mystified is a song that people will come to like and might even be able to conquer some fans through radio airplay.
This song left me feel uneasy at times. The song itself has a lot of potential, but at some points I felt there were some additions to the song that it could’ve done without. Lyrically also, Draw doesn’t reach my top of best RDB songs. The song was over before I realized and I still don’t really know what to say about it. Is it a good song? Yes! Do I consider it a memorable song? Probably not.
Soul is one of the album’s highlights. With a similar approach as Swing Low RDB comes to their full potential, both musically and vocally. This song is catchy in it’s on way and makes room for combining classic rock influences with modern-day indie rock. With some harder blues-rock-like riffs and passionate vocals this song has a certain drive that is fascinating.
The album closer Favor has a certain gentle mystique over it that it really benefits from. Lyrically one of the highlights of the album too. (“Across your arm/A blue ink pen/Reminds you to think of others first/So write down things/That you can’t say/And do me a favor once in a while”). It shows a side of RDB we haven’t really heard before. And I must say that it’s an excellent way to end this promising debut album.
But wait, there’s more ear candy. The first bonus track, Dillon, has a real demo feel about it, and to my surprise it’s the song’s strongest feature. It gives the song a melancholic, antique feel that takes this song a few steps higher. The decision to make Dillon a bonus song was a right one, as it would’ve been slightly out of place on the regular album, but it’s a good treat for the fans.
The slightly heavier Daybreaker is a song that could just as well have been on the regular album, with it’s heavier guitar parts and its mystical yet powerful vocals. It has an interesting contrast between darker and lighter that RDB plays out beautifully. When it breaks out into the chorus it even feels kinda catchy at times. Maybe even one of my favorites of the album.
With “I Trust You To Kill Me”, Rocco DeLuca & The Burden have delivered a solid alternative rock album that shows creativity, originality, variety and a sense of music history. With songs that sound modern and some that are very fit for radio he doesn’t lose track of his music heritage from the past decades and with influences from classic rock, jazz, soul, blues, roots and rock & roll, this band managed to create a worthy debut album that will top many album lists of 2006 and 2007. Rocco DeLuca & The Burden is a modern-day crown jewel of rock music and “ITYTKM” is a firm statement to confirm that.