To be honest, I saw American trio GA-20 purely as an blues revival band, an image reinforced by their previous album (2021) where they honored legendary six-fingered Chicago bluesman Theodore Roosevelt “Hound Dog” Taylor. But now that I replay their debut LP Lonely Soul (2019), I realize that this thought was too short-sighted, that they are more than that. Although traditional electric blues is clearly the basis, the musicians give it their own, modern twist. On their new full-length Crackdown, guitarist/vocalist Pat Faherty, guitarist Matt Stubbs and drummer Tim Carmanand let go of the straitjacket of the old blues heroes even further, I guess more confident than ever because of countless successful live shows. Maybe we should call it soulful garage rock ‘n’ roll with heavy blues influences? The music is still raw and swampy, but the nine new, original songs are stronger and more memorable than ever – the melodies are catchier, the guitars more biting, the drums groovier, the vocals more convincing. I used to like GA-20, now I love them.
Crackdown is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Karma Chief Records.