Between Green Acres (released September 14th, 2018) is the second full-length release from alt-rockers, Rusty Blue from Wilmington, Delaware. The foursome of Gregory Stanard (vocals/guitar), Clayton Milano (guitar), Damien Pace (drums), and Joey Heins (bass) wear their influences on their sleeves, which I would best describe as a crossroads between classic seventies rock and early-nineties alternative. I know what you’re thinking…that’s a lot of ground to cover and while I applaud the attempt to capture and reinvent these celebrated genres, I think Rusty Blue have fallen a little victim to trying to do too much on this record.
Interesting that for a hard hitting rock album, Rusty Blue decided to open with a soft acoustic, minute and twenty second ballad “Pottery Ceramic;” I’m all for juxtaposition and misdirection if done with true artistic purpose, but I think this instance may throw listeners off a little, especially because it opens the album. We quickly move into much heavier territory on subsequent jams “Shawcross” and “Between Green Acres.” “Shawcross” plays like a middle of the road hard rock song, not overtly heavy but yes, it carries some weight, quick what’s something that’s not heavy but still you wouldn’t want to carry it too far? A grocery bag!? “Shawcross” is as heavy as a grocery bag… okay more seriously it sounds a lot like Stone Temple Pilots when they would push the dial up on the heaviness factor, like say on No.4. “Between Green Acres” is a more enjoyable track, and feels like the bands best model for finding a successful sound. A fun audio bit at the start makes way to some funked out psychedelic guitar licks and grooving bass lines. I can’t help but draw comparisons to Red Hot Chili Peppers and Stanard seems to sing most comfortably in a range close to Anthony Keidis anyhow. It is my favourite track on the album by a long shot!
There are a few tracks on the latter half of the album which are a little filleresque, “Black Haired Beauty,” a song about a girl that sorta just floats around in moderation. “Honeysurf” a much slower moving, seven minute piece that you get lost in, but not in a good way. Though these songs don’t really hit the mark and are slightly flawed at the core, I undoubtedly see the building blocks for a killer sound. Listening to a song like “Greyscale” gives me the reassurance that Rusty Blue are well on their way to finding their signature sound. The band is at its strongest when they get a little groovy and turn up those funky and psychedelic dials. I hope to hear more of that on future releases.
Written by Lee Ferguson
*edited by Danielle Kenedy