“Hatless and Blind” is the debut blues-rock album with 11 tracks and in LP length by Keith and the Cockroaches.
Some might say the era of “blues-influenced rock sound is over” (at least according to Julian Casablancas from The Strokes) and the time is nigh for rock and roll. Yet, no matter what the “industry experts” state, the biggest tours are still around this trope year by year.
Does it mean that Keith and the Cockroaches are playing for the nostalgia factor? Far from it. Their youthful energy is paired up with adult wisdom; trademark thick guitar playing some good grooves here and there; loud drums and an uncompromising sound of a seasoned voice – offering just the right treatment these times.
“Hatless and Blind” speaks for the broken, the beat and scarred ones and it is easy to feel the contemporary vibe helmed in fitting the mixes, proving that it is not a yesteryear music in the old genre while avoids regurgitating the past. The album’s twists also offer a psyche-shaping journey with some magic shared with us.
Keith and the Cockroaches are as real as it gets: they are never cloying or mawkish and they definitely take the audience to a great trip.
Let’s dive into the tracks one by one:
Track 1: “Wrong together”
This album starter is an energetic, playful banger with the wink in the eye. Sets the mood just right what is to expect.
Track 2: “Plastic Tumbleweed”
It’s the epitome of raw energy, instant good old-hit vibe at a go-to bar gig and works as a travel song, too – emulating the quaint rural emotions and memories.
Track 3: “The Dash”
A lively, energetic, fast pace rock piece, would work well in clubs, a happy go lucky song.
Track 4: “A Lunchtime in Hell”
This mid-tempo storytelling has all the raw blues energy with a bit of comedy; a comfortable listen in a bar.
Track 5: “Starcrossed”
An artistically free, little bit wild mix and interesting rhythm portraying a quirky soul-search.
Track 6: “Six Shots”
Probably the heaviest bit for hard-core blues fans.
Track 7: “(Tonight, We Are) Immune”
A dark, twisted tale of a quasi-love story wandering on and off dreams and reality.
Track 8: “Annie Moore”
This is a poetic semi-ballad about an imaginary love in a very Nick Cave style that is surprisingly fitting in this most radio friendly song. It offers a nice soundscape and the vocals come effortless in the recitativo, with a nice and needed change in the delivery. The clear master helps its catchy atmosphere boosting up in the break and the widening mix evolving the impression as the story progresses. It does pull the listeners in, especially the parched souls.
Track 9: “Merry Christman, Mr Murica”
A rather atypical holiday song with strong social critics where the music serves as the message’s delivery device with roaming guitars. Very Bob Dylan, great that the lyrics delivery and fits for the lead just right.
Track 10: “Without a Net (Hatless and Blind)”
Another genre trope about a man at the end of his luck. A bit simple but standing straight.
Track 11: “Double Dipped”
We are back to entertainment in this fast mid-tempo concert banger which is a good choice to end the album with. KATC’s trademark vocals guitar-plays with vivid drums make this song the perfect choice to finish the album with.
Ultimately, “Hatless and Blind” is an album with a refreshingly raw signature sound and a storytelling that makes it unique. Definitely there is a great chance for Keith and the Cockroaches to make a name with their debut album filled with great songs to discover and bringing good times in a bar or on the road.