The Record Company: All of This Life Review

The Record Company’s new album All of This Life landed this summer like a cool breeze on a sweltering day: it’s refreshing, it’s needed and it just feels good. Ever since coming together in Los Angeles in 2011, The Record Company has stood apart from the crowd of blues-hungry musicians as a trio with some serious chops—and this album proves it.

The band’s debut album Give it Back to You, released on Concord Records in early 2016, earned Chris Vos (lead vocals, guitar), Alex Stiff (bass, backing vocals) and Marc Cazorla (drums, backing vocals) props from music critics throughout the blues and rock genres, largely for the incredulity cited upon learning that the band was capable of putting together such a well-rounded sound with only three members. In revisiting Give it Back to You, the album certainly does carry a surprisingly full sound, considering it was all recorded in a home studio. That sound gains strength on All of This Life, likely in part because the band settled into recording booths at Boulevard Recording in Hollywood to self-produce the new album’s 10 tracks. The soul of the first album remains on All of This Life, but with greater force: It has an undeniable energy to it, an energy that isn’t dependent on the technical virtuosity that marks other blues and rock projects but instead takes the foundation of the blues and updates it for a modern audience. If there was ever doubt that blues-based rock could be a young person’s game in the 21st century, The Record Company is determined to prove otherwise.

“Life to Fix” launches All of This Life as the album’s first single, a speedy track with a foot-stomping groove that’s easy to fall into and hard to forget. The album’s momentum continues with “I’m Getting Better (and I’m Feeling it Right Now),” a rollicking song made powerful by its punchy harmonica and playful bass lines. The Record Company pumps the breaks for the next song, “Goodbye to the Hard Life,” a thoughtful reflection on a relationship gone sour. (“Since I quit you / Everything’s so real / Days are brighter / I’ve had time to heal,” Vos sings to open the song.) From there, the album maintains a balance, embracing uptempo—but measured—songs with a few ballads sprinkled in. Though tracks like “Life to Fix,” “Coming Home” and “Night Games” are in some ways more fun for listening and demonstrable of technical prowess (the slide guitar style featured on “Night Games” is, after all, one of the reasons the band attracted so many of its grassroots fans), the ballads are where The Record Company shows its growth as a group. “You and Me Now,” though not as likely to attract the same numbers as “Life to Fix,” is all emotion, a lyrically-driven track with the perfect combination of carefully-placed drumbeats and gentle guitar strumming and sliding that drives the feeling of the song home. Much as the determined “Life to Fix” or the sentimental “The Movie Song” tap into the blues through style and theme, “You and Me Now” reaches for the genre’s roots, reminding listeners how important it is for lyrics and complex pieces of music to weave together into one compact mood or message.

Across its 10 songs, All of This Life is immediate and reflective, a result of both the blues’ historic past and visions for its future. The Record Company has cited influences like Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash, John Lee Hooker and scores of others, and though hints of many can be heard by those who listen closely, The Record Company’s music is entirely its own, an example in real time of how this genre that was so embraced in decades past can still be relevant today. Could All of This Life be one of the best blues rock albums of 2018? Time will tell—but with the year already half over, it’s certainly coming through as a serious contender.

The Review: 9/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Life to Fix
– You and Me Now
– The Movie Song
– Night Games

The Big Hit

– Life to Fix

Review by Meghan Roos

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK

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