Blues Traveler

¡Bastardos! (Vanguard)

ACL Music Festival Reviews

Blues Traveler

¡Bastardos! (Vanguard)

The first thing you'll notice about the latest Blues Traveler album, ÁBastardos!, is what's missing. The band, which recently entered its third decade, has long been identified by the lightning quick harmonica leads of frontman John Popper. Here, Popper's harp has retreated to the background somewhat, but that only allows the NYC quintet room to explore different guises. Aided by the more-than-capable production hands of Jay Bennett (ex-Wilco), ÁBastardos! is also the darkest Blues Traveler LP to date. It's filled with thick soundscapes and a heaviness straight out of Seventies progressive rock. Which isn't to say it's retro by any stretch; the band gets psychedelicized, but their feet are firmly planted in the here and now. The use of horns on a couple of tunes, most notably the smoldering "She and I," adds new colors to their palette. At 14 songs, ÁBastardos! is overlong; cutting a weaker track or two – the completely unnecessary "Nefertiti" would be a good place to start – would have made it more cohesive and less of a sprawl. Still, this is a collection of riffs, jams, and new directions that will thrill Blues Traveler fans, while maybe attracting new ÁBastardos! to the fold. (Friday, 7:30pm, Heineken stage)

***

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Jim Caligiuri
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Her father's death and daughter's birth upped the stakes of the singer's finest work

April 14, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.

March 18, 2017

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle