Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz have returned with another album and if there is any sort of positive to take out of the global pandemic we have been going through it has been the ability to find comfort in their music. "Variant Blues" has less of a blues sound to it and more one that spans the genres of folk and Americana. With a lot of acoustics it can feel like The Wallflowers at times, but also there is just that general feeling of something along the lines of Radiohead or Coldplay but in a different presentation.
To some extent, these songs could be thought of as being sad. "Err On The Side Of Love" becomes slower and dreamy though, which makes it feel a bit more relaxed and just chill. My favorite song on this album is "Bang Goes The Gun" because when you think of the speed and impact of a gun being fired, this song has the vibes of the opposite of that- just slower and drawn out. The contrast there is really something special and needs to be heard. "Beyond Silence" gets a bit darker and also comes out somewhat trippy.
On "Just A Game" they really break it down into just the strum of the acoustic guitar and vocals, with harmonies that are without compare. Somehow I hear some Counting Crows in here as well, though one of the biggest influences I can really hear shining through all of these songs is Neil Young. The one line from all of the lyrics on this album that really hits me is: "Nowhere to go if we cannot change" because I feel like every day we should try to be a little bit better and I just don't like the idea of being stagnant.
Overall "Variant Blues" just flies by and feels like the perfect soundtrack for any occasion. There are elements within here which could put it on pop radio the same way you'd hear a Coldplay song, but it can also be on rock radio. This really just also reminds me of a certain point in music in the early '00's where artists like Akron/Family made it felt like this modern folk genre was taking over and as long as music exists I hope music which sounds like this continues to persist as well.
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