Luke Stone: Somethin’s Gotta Give
Luke Stone’s 2009 release: Somethin’s Gotta Give is a genre-blending tour de force that is unrepentant in its adventurous delivery. Ranging from complex progressive instrumentals to moody, melodic concoctions, the nine songs on Somethin’s Gotta Give highlights Stone’s ability as a multi-instrumentalistic juggernaut committed to his vision. A vision that is desperately needed in the face of the status quo that unfortunately dominates our current musical landscape. It couldn’t have come at a better time because the American Idol tour is about to start!
Everything’s Negotiable kicks off the CD with a labyrinth of musical virtuosity and moody lyrics, while Reveal is a rousing, melodic anthem housed in a thunderous groove where Stone is backed by Jason Hubbard’s towering vocals.
Propelled by Stone’s creative arrangement and the earnest quality of his Q&A style lyrics,
I Told You is one catchy song which doesn’t give up on Stone’s lively use of guitar, drums, bass,and electronic nuances.
Insane is laced with lush instrumental passages set against a melancholic groove heightened by continuous hypnotic vocals, courtesy of Tanner Walle. Insane stands out because of its reflective nocturnal nature.
Call it IndieLateFridayNightIntrospectionism. Frequented by seductively enhanced electronic brushes and warm organic instrumentation,
Insane represents the harmony that can be found on opposite ends of the spectrum when in the hands of a true artist.
Should be Easy Pt. 1 and 2 is a monstrous, musical flex that displays the brilliant interplay between guitarist Brian Baggett and the muscular, drum skills of Stone. While Stone works an unyielding rhythmic canvas, Baggett provides a textbook example of his concept of space allowing him to bob and weave throughout the song, later creating the hook that reels the listener in for a final transcendent guitar solo.
Time to Go is densely layered and ushers the listener into a world where wide-stanced bravado co-exists comfortably with witty intellectualism. Jarring riffs juxtapose deep within Stone’s detached, vocal style allowing one to pound and ponder at the same time.
The brief sax-fueled funk found in Skeleton Ho-Down showcases the exceptional skills of sax man Todd Wilkenson. How’s the listener rewarded? Dart–like sax blasts combined with Stone’s nimble drum skills and
P-Funk approved bass is reminiscent of a lost gem from a Prince and Eric Leeds funk collaboration. One can only wish that Stone treads the ground of this frenetic funk assault again because he clearly has a knack for it.
A jam that conjures up a delicious slice of controlled chaos aided by a Matt Gader guitar solo, Cheap Shot is the type of song that should come with a disclaimer: Do not try this at home. Fortunately, it’s not in the hands of amateurs but is in the hands of musicians who are more than able to drive this jagged jam home. With flashes of Umphrey’s McGee, Praxis and a backstory that allows Stone to add his own personal touch (apparently the song is based on an altercation that Stone had with someone outside a local cheese shop) Cheap Shot is the perfect ending to an eclectic CD thrill-ride. With a hilarious vocal sample acting as a play-by-play, one feels Stone’s pain almost prompting the listener to find the idiot who hit him in his face. Thankfully, there’s no need for violence because the song’s unrelenting groove can’t be denied, and its dizzying side effects will keep the listener so busy that there’s no need to partake in any revenge fantasies.
Somethin’s Gotta Give is not for complacent listeners content with withering away from a life of music that’s set in stone. Bringing superb production, thought-provoking lyrics and top-notched musicianship, this CD is a clear sign that Luke Stone is a talented force with whom to be reckoned today and for the future.
De’Von Pierre Jackson