First time I listened to Essential Tremors I was at the office. Work was piled up, people were barking at me on the phone. I never really was able to get into a groove with it and I wasn’t digging it at all. Fast forward to a Friday afternoon and I’m heading home with the sun out and windows down. Cranked up Essential Tremors and that was that. I was digging it so much that I damn-near high-fived a complete stranger coming out of a store.
That’s the lesson here. J. Roddy & The Business don’t want to deal with your annoying day-to-day bullshit. J. Roddy wants to catch you during that time when you’re hanging with your pals, knocking down shots (even though you swore them off when you turned 40) or sitting on the porch with the sun on your face. Essential Tremors continues to fit that bill.
Listen to Essential Tremors and you can feel Logan and Steve’s thumping rhythm. You can damn near visualize Billy hunched over during his solos. And you can definitely feel Rod’s vocals take you to that special place that their live shows do. For those not familiar with J. Roddy Walston & The Business, they are a band to be taken in the live setting. I once described them as a blend of Jerry Lee Lewis and T-Rex and Essential Tremors only ups the ante.
There are the quintessential sounding tunes that embody everything they are about like Marigold and Tear Jerk that are build around Walston’s piano. They boogie through three minutes with no apologies and the back-up vocals of Billy & Logan. There are also a couple of tunes where Rod grabs the guitar like the tribal Sweat Shock, built around a fierce riff.
The boys also slow things down for a couple of songs, providing a nice breather through the frenetic album. It shows the range and growth of the band. Nobody Knows is a great track right in the middle and the closer Midnight Cry sounds like a classic tune from the 50s updated in a way that only these four guys could do.
Essential Tremors is a gem but to truly understand them as a band, seeing them live will only cement your love for them. I have taken many people to see them, and the general reaction of all is, “That was fucking awesome;” complete with stinging high-five. They are going to be at The Double Door next Thursday where I will put forth that theory again. And the following day, they will pay HearYa a visit again for their 2nd session.