Life operates in what often feels like circular patterns, with trends coming in and then ushering themselves out to give sway to the next “new” thing before swirling back around again some time later when its retro status declares it cool again. Music is a perfect example of this and the shift over the past thirty years or so shows it as eclectic pop and fun, raucous rock and roll gave way to the rise of hip hop and then grunge. Slick boy band pop reared its head then alongside indie rock while country then became trendy, with everyone throwing an acoustic guitar or banjo into their set. Now with the stellar debut from Denver-based outfit Straight Six, things have come Full Circle as the quartet reclaims the glory of rock and roll’s heyday.
Coming together in 2017 under the vision of Glen Drieth (bass), alongside Joey Shapiro (drums), Eric Schaudies (guitar), and Jay Quinatana (lead vocals), Straight Six has operated under the sole mission to craft great rock and roll music. It’s a mission each member had pursued individually, with Drieth and Shapiro honing their skills with quasi-punk band Grace’s Period and others, Shapiro rocking the beats for Concrete Effect and Chilli Whip, while Quintana fronted the popular Denver metal outfit, Death Bed Confession. But as a collective, their skills came together in a stirring mix of talent that’s seen them rock the Denver music scene and earning the opportunity to open for bands like Stryper and Slaughter and play at celebrated venues like the Whisky in Hollywood and Counts Vamp’d in Las Vegas.
Possessed of a sound that captures the boisterous energy and fun of 80’s-flavored rock, the album recalls the best of bands of that era like Van Halen, Motely Crüe, and more. It’s loud, sexy, rocking fun that recalls a simpler time, a time when the music and the party that it brought with it were what it was all about.
The musical prowess of the record can be seen from the first track, “Aimed At Me,” with Schaudies’ relentless guitar licks leading the way and setting the table for Quintana’s rapid-fire, soulful vocals while “Middle Of The Ride” showcases Shapiro’s tight percussion and Drieth’s throbbing bass over a blues-ringed riff that feels like a time machine took you back to 1984. “Back Home” wrestles with the doubts alongside the journey to success while kicking beats and Schaudies’ killer guitar hold sway before giving way to the melodic energy of “Cry All Night.”
“Divided We Stand” tackles relationship issues with an onslaught of sound, Quintana’s vocals passionate and shining, as “Joneser’s Lane” delivers with full-muscled sound and a tale of caution. Every great rock band needs a ballad in their quiver and “What Would I Give” fits that place here with mixed results but with the thumping bass notes of “Old Back Road” things are right back on track and give way to the soaring riffs of “21 Guns,” rocking with power as Quintana spits out the lines. Not having lost any momentum, the quartet closes things out with the rapid-fire “Black & Blue,” closing things out on a high note.
With Full Circle, Straight Six hits the ground running and doesn’t stop until the last rocking note. Packed with all the right suspects from wailing guitars, tight bass notes, killer percussion, and those vocals delivered with attitude, this album delivers in spades. A balm to those souls who were left wanting and wondering if rock and roll would ever return, let it be said that with the release of Full Circle rock and roll is back and here to stay.
Andrew Greenhalgh posted by Sebastian Cole