After a relatively long gap since his latest release, the Minneapolis based blues rocker Cole Allen comes back to the scene with the EP The Other Side. Bringing new songs straight from the source, he now bets on only his voice and a guitar, offering a most intimate and calm experience. Comparatively, with his self-titled album from 2013, which brought a bunch of electric songs inspired by names like SRV or Lenny Kravitz, The Other Side reveals a totally different side of Cole.
The self-titled track achieves, even in the purity of just vocals and a guitar, its goal of transporting the listener to a silent place, where only the harmony and melodies that come from the song can perfectly fill the whole ambient. “Black Cloud” starts with a clean and shiny melody on guitar, the vocals come in the sequence dovetailing the lyrics between and over the notes. “Chasing Down The Night” brings a more accelerated pace. The verses start evolving until finding a well-fit chorus. The tiny solos between the chords are a reminder that the blues is rooted in Cole.
In an album of pure acoustic songs, fingerstyle and strumming, considering the style with which Cole lent to the tracks, at some point someone could cite Bob Dylan as a crucial inspiration. In this context, “Maybe It’s Time” is the track that mostly approaches Dylan, either because of the folk playing or the voice intonation. “Always” is a love song with a nice chord sequence. This song makes me think about how it would sound like if it had an electric version. “Noelle” explores the contraposition between the bass sounds from the vocals and the treble that comes from the guitar.
Cole Allen reaches a new level in his career with The Other Side. Although I would rather see the “traditional” blues rock songs, played in a full band, Cole has proved that a lot of feelings and emotions can effectively be delivered by a single person through his vocals and guitar playing.
The Review: 8/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– The Other Side
– Chasing Down The Night
The Big Hit