Raoul: Say It Ain’t So Review

Say It Ain’t So represents Raoul’s latest foray into the realm of blues rock, and it delivers more than enough strong material to justify a listen.  The album prominently features Raoul Roux’s lead guitar and vocals, with Steph Nortje on drums and Nick Kuiper on bass.  

Raoul Roux is the star of the show from the onset of Say it Ain’t So.  The album centers heavily on his vocals and lead guitar playing. Playing lead guitar while singing is no simple feat, and Raoul pulls this off with ease, proving himself a strong pair of shoulders on which the album rests.  Guitar solos abound throughout the album, and Raoul’s playing shines through a variety of styles.  “Say It Ain’t So” has a grungy alternative sound, while the main riff to “When Lovers End” sounds like it belongs in a metal song with its distorted guitar tone and menacing minor sound. The album has one cover: U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”  The interpretation is unique enough that I won’t spoil it in this review.  However, I will say I liked it more than the original.

While the album mostly showcases Raoul, Nortje and Kupier each get a solo on “Slide Instrumental,” a satisfying groove that showcases the virtuosity of the accompanying musicians.  This segues into a few qualms I had with Say It Ain’t So.  Because Raoul’s drummer and bassist sound so fantastic, I would have liked a more prominent role in the mix for both of them.  Additionally, the album, while always sounding good, did not have a clear logic organizationally, and the pacing sometimes suffers, leaving the album to sometimes feel slow in the middle.  

At its best, Say It Ain’t So delivers a unique blend of genres that showcases Roux’s dynamic range of influences and history as a musician. While it has its flaws, they are overshadowed by Raoul Roux’s masterful compositions.  

The Review: 7.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– New Home
– Say It Ain’t So
– Slide Instrumental
– I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
– When Lovers End

The Big Hit

– Say It Ain’t So

Review by Mark Hunstein

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