Paul Mark and the Van Dorens: Smartest Man in the Room Review

Smartest Man in the Room makes for the ninth release by Paul Mark, the singer, instrumentalist, songwriter and owner of Radiation Records, the label producing the album. Recorded in New Orleans and Memphis, Paul Mark and the Van Dorens’ album reflects the rich musical history of these two iconic locations. Having performed for the past 25 years, it is no surprise that Park Mark and the Van Dorens have the kind of traditional sound that stays in style no matter the decade.

The group’s sound is the very epitome of the blues rock genre. It follows guitar riffs, covering the swinging beat popularized in the fifties and also has solo licks easier found in the seventies and eighties. The end result is a timeless album by a group of talented and seasoned musicians. Experience doesn’t always make for an impressive ensemble, but with Paul Mark and the Van Dorens, it does. Their experience as musicians and as a group layers a level of polish and finish to their sound overall.

While Paul Mark’s voice is gravelly and decidedly more on the raw side, the technique and ability of the musicians blends with the vocals to create a thoroughly enjoyable combination. There are varying levels of texture to the sound, and much like a good meal, it is satisfying and complete. Paul Mark’s voice provides the necessary crunch among the smoother instrumental sound.

The titular track, “Smartest Man in the Room,” will most likely stay with the listener the longest. But, “The Creature Walks Among Us,” is an enjoyable and diverse track. While it certainly follows the blues formula, it carries an ethereal distorted overtone, a chugging baseline and guitar riffs that come straight out of the 1970s.

On the whole, this album is more for the serious blues listener rather than someone interested in the indie rock movement, although there are tracks that bridge the generation gap. Paul Mark and the Van Dorens have put forth a solid effort that will no doubt lead to yet another successful release.

The Review: 8.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Smartest Man in the Room
– Don’t Tell Ya Henry
– The Creature Walks Among Us

The Big Hit

– Smartest Man in the Room

Review by Sarah Richmond

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Bulk Email Sender