“Heart Of Stone : Smoking Gun” – Album Review

The album as a collective project is one of their best to come out to fans. When I listen I hear so much depth and texture to it all. With a nostalgic sound. I would say this record is going to be a household name. Like everyone has heard of “The Dark Side of the Moon” right? This is our generations Pink Floyd. Okay let me pause that thought here so you don’t think I’m full of sh*t. And just let me explain.

“Heart of Stone : Smoking Gun” has that feel good vintage aroma to it. I mean it figuratively as you can’t smell sounds. But let us say you could smell a sound, it would reek like an antique shop vinyl. I think the duo is from a past lifetime. Or maybe living it over again. The record has 1970s music written all over it. I mean this as the room sound is full, the air molecules are moving around in the room and you hear that; you can hear everything. Speaking to the band members about this I was able to find out more about the making of the album. Dylan was really not too much help about the process as he mentioned he was actively using Cocaine and MDMA during it. What the f*ck….Was my first reaction as well. He mentioned; “We just kept it to the core of the song and ran take after take until it was as perfect as possible. That I remember.”

Now I move over to Joseph who wasn’t impaired throughout the studio sessions. I was able to get him on FaceTime talking about this creation of “Heart Of Stone / Smoking Gun”. I was able to get him to elaborate more on making this record. He said “Recording is always time consuming, I think we put a total of 80 hours of recording and mixing. Along with the numerous takes and being satisfied. It’s mania inducing, but it’s a crazy kind of love. I hope this project inspires other; and I’m excited to share it with the world.” With that said, if you have been following this duo you may have known or remember a falling out. There was a period of years that these two friends parted ways into other projects.

Johnny Hoffman and the Residents had pioneered through the United States back in 2016. After a three week tour from Seattle,Wa to Boston,Ma the two had dismantled. Through major life events and the grace of God the two were meeting their destiny. They were able to get back together after many years. And put out a masterpiece they had left off with. Joseph also expressed to me these words. “It was interesting, coming back after a long time and rekindling friendship. Actually didn’t plan on coming back to it. I think we both kind of needed each other.”

I’m am sure after listening to the record that you were both destined to make music together. Otherwise you just wouldn’t get such great songs out.

I’ll refer to the first song I listened to off their album. The titled song “Scratch”. It is a slow and bluesy one. Allowing a spacing out grove to dance along and move to. Now they are a two member band so the two work smart with adding in smooth dynamics. JHOFF give off a slight vibe of another local Seattle group. You actually better know of them. The Presidents of the United States of America. Yeah and those guys rock. This song has an alternate beat of clicking and clacking that totally leaves your jaw dropped. It reminded me of The Presidents for sure. Anyways, shortly after the foundation is in place the lyrics flow. The vocals are soft and intimate. Joseph works his words together eloquently. Brittleness of the lyrics are heard throughout the track. Almost as if he was reminiscing a place he was in to inspire the words in the first place. But on the flip side of the coin you find the heaviest noise. The instrumental breakdown is roaring and metal sounding as F*CK! You can also hear the drumsticks cutting the air as it slaps on the Tom-toms. Which is always a huge win. This song itself touches levels of classic metal with a stapled grunge flavor.

Lastly a song so worthy it’s in their record name, “Smoking Gun”. Which is pretty much two songs within itself. The first hearty chunk of it is all instrumental. The bluesy riff is like a dance between the guitar and drums. It is led by a sliding note on the guitar. The beat is alternated from the high-hat to the ride swiftly and then back to its original form. Afterwards you get this kind of “chorus” thing? I mean there are no lyrics but I guess it’s something different than what was going on previously so i think that counts. You become slowly engulfed into a crashing cymbals and Wahhhhh pedal battle. It’s a strict on the beat hit that the duo lash out on and build. Dynamically it gets in your face and will wash out into the “verse”. The first part of the song. And this whole process becomes all too well-known. Drastically you are side swiped by a crescendo. Like an eruption going off inside ( just say your favorite venue inside your head ). But as the ashes settle from this you are left listening to a post apocalyptic sounding jazz outro. Big waves in the natural tones of the guitar. Really full and deep Tom hits. The last portion of the track put me as a listener on my toes. I was so thrown off I am pretty sure I even proclaimed the Lords name in vein.

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