Put a young, enterprising group of blues and roots rockers in the studio with producer/local rock poobah on high Steve Connelly. The end product: An exceptional new CD, Into the Night, by Roppongi’s Ace.
And what comes inside that pretty package? Crystalline strums, gently seering harmonicas by bassist Jesse Norton, soft vibratos and quiet spaces between.
Max Norton’s beats anchor the whole shebang, but I personally would have preferred a more pronounced mic placement on his skilled percussion. He’s soulfully tight and the CD would benefit from more showcasing. That’s my preference anyway. If it were up to me, I’d ask Spoon how they do it, which is pretty much my blanket rule for all non-tribal and non-marching band drum recording.
For the most part, the new album refreshes with its happy and functional marriage between talent and tech. It’s got feisty variety — some serenading, some hootin’ and hollerin’.
Alex Spoto — guitar, singer and hooter (or is it hootiner? hootinator?) — has a voice beyond his underclassman-at-Brown years. It’s sweet and raspy, not too precious and not at all overwrought. He just says what he’s thinking and feeling. From track 3, “Found,” to crowd pleaser, “So it Goes,” Spoto goes from heartfelt sweetheart to barn-burning bastard. The lyrics, likewise, depart from a reflective and poignant place to irreverent honesty.
With lines like “Lord, please give me patience to be kind till we have it all figured out,” in “What You Expected,” you don’t expect the singer to have spent a relatively short time getting knocked around on this Earth. Well, that’s all relative, anyway.
Kudos to these boys with talent and wisdom beyond their years.
Wait. … Please forget I said that, Roppongi’s Ace. I wouldn’t want it going to your pretty little heads and compromising all that earnest striving and inspiration.