Being cooped up because of some asinine virus has not been my favorite thing as of late. I really shouldn’t complain though, as I know many pals of mine are hurting severely because of this pandemic. If I could help everyone, I would. Trust me on that.
I offer a distraction to anyone who needs it right now via music. It’s the least I can do.
My pal Toby from that punk label out there called Red Hair Bimbo Trees or something sent me a message today reminding me that the great Sam Russo has new material that just dropped and encouraged me to stop sitting there and do something.
Who is Sam Russo you ask? He’s a UK punk rocker who honestly could put his back up these days to a young Frank Turner when it comes to musical style and craftsmanship, but that’s being a little lazy for comparison. Said differently, if you love when punk lead singers do their solo thing and get all Revival Tour on your ass, you’ll love this dude. I guarantee it based on his storytelling ability.
Russo has actually been around for a while now and Back to the Party is his third release on Red Scare Records. I was lucky enough to get a good taste of him thanks to 2015’s Greyhound Dreams and have really been waiting for the day he dropped some new tunes.
“I took a lot of risks on this record and I’m so glad I did because it came out sounding really original and totally true to what I was trying to say for so many years.” – Sam Russo
“Purple Snow” started off the album a little personal and a tad incoherent in terms of the story within the song. I adored this track upon first listen. Russo honestly has never sounded better. Perhaps a personal memoir, this track carried enough emotion to have me thinking of some of my past history. I am curious though, was the snow purple from Mad Dog 20/20? One can hope…one can hope.
“Good and Gone” I think was taken from my own personal memory of most of 2009. This song hit the heart hard, as it sung of hurt and triumph. These are the tunes that make me happy exist because the show me where I’ve been, where I can from, and what I’ve become.
“Darkness” followed and continued to tug on forced-in feelings with an apologetic excuse on interpersonal communication, or the lack thereof. Wholesome and pure, this track probably will be relating to a lot of folk.
There’s so much that can be said about “Young Heroes” based on how the listener took it in. Given the current situation, this track speaks volumes to those who are working harder than ever based on some stupid pandemic. Not trying to sound cliché at all, but there’s a lot of heroes in my book right now.
I can not really talk about a certain track on here in great detail, but if you know me, you know it totally kicked my ass by the title alone. The past will always sting back when you least expect it. Maybe I need to appreciate it more than I give myself credit for seeing how it shaped me, but still, that shit hurts. Nice job Russo, you jerk – I might have had a tear or two let loose…
Just when you think there’d be a slight let up of sorrow on the album, “Tears” kicked in. This really was a beautiful track overall, but not to be reckoned with if you’re trying to lift them spirits high. I mean, that chorus alone gave me chills. Add lap-steel guitar playing that sparked a slight country feel made for my favorite track of the record.
“The Basement” ended the album with symbolism at its finest. Russo came to terms with life due to rummaging around and only could sit back and reflect on where things went wrong. Putting a lid to the album with this track just made so much sense.
Russo is a storyteller as much as he is a musician. Personal tales might make you want to hug your drink a little harder when you listen to this album, but let’s be real – sometimes it is nice to remember you’re human.
Back to the Party is a must listen for any music fan. Although some songs were full of ache, there really was a silver lining in terms of hope. I feel like I am trying to be motivational here, but let’s face it, times are weird as hell right now. We can all use a distraction.
Hang in there folks.