- Transparent vinyl
- Boogie No6
- Aquarena Daydream
- Rio Vista
- Natural Child
- Tears of Gaia
- Mabon Song
- Soul Games
Release Date: May 11, 2018
Label: Heavy Psych Sounds Records
Rootstock! What a great title for what is essentially a roots rock record – a real retro seventies-style rocker if there ever was one. This new album by the San Marcos trio Crypt Trip is in good company, too, joining the likes of Siena Root and others we’ve featured in the pages of Doomed & Stoned as shining examples of authentic hard rock.
Hard to believe, but it’s nigh three years since I reviewed the debut by the Texas band. I gave 'Crypt Trip' (2014) high praise and it remains my listening rotation still. In the interim since their debut LP, the retro rock scene has mushroomed, both in quantity and authenticity – even in originality. It’s quite an exciting movement to witness and we’re proud to play a small part in documenting it.
Since their first release, the boys at Crypt Trip have progressed further down ol’ Mother Road, capturing both the overall vibe and the actual spirit that made the music of the seventies so irresistibly electric. This they’ve done while keeping many of the distinct doom-stoner elements that made that legendary record Crypt Trip so remarkable. With 'Rootstock’ (2018), Ryan Lee (guitar, vox), Sam Bryant (bass guitar), and Cam (drums) have most definitely hit their stride.
I don’t think anyone will notice this isn’t quite as doom-laden as their initial offering, because the bass lines are so robust throughout Rootstock that it always maintains a heavy feel about it. This and the awesome late-sixties, early-seventies fuzz tone of the guitar always keeps us on our toes. I don’t want to leave out the vocals. Ryan Lee seems like he would be right at home covering the Allman Brothers, UFO, Spooky Tooth, The James Gang, and Atomic Rooster if we asked him politely. In fact, if this band wasn’t 40 years removed from the others, Crypt Trip would pair nicely on a tour with any one of them. Among my peers, there seems to be quite a bit of written about the Allman Brothers angle and I’m on board with that comparison, but would add that Rootstock is far more psychedelic.
My first inclination that this album was going to be a special one arrived about two-minutes and thirty-seconds in, with “Heartslave.” It’s very solid up to that point, with its classic meandering introduction, but when the bass line changes, followed by a hearty burst of guitar, it’s take no prisoners time, baby! I love these long, fuzzy guitar solos, man. The fuzz just really gets me, right here (I’m pointing at my heart, people). I didn’t even notice until the third time listening that the vocal section of the song was quite minimal, only about 30 seconds in total. “Heartslave” is a welcome back party for a solid jam band that clearly loves to play together.
The second track, “Boogie #6,” commences with some laid back psychedelic groove joined by some cool vox, before the tempo decides it’s time to earn that boogie name. The riffs definitely remind me Lynyrd Skynyrd. “We’re all gonna die anyway, so why don’t we all boogie all night.” There’s no way the mosh pit doesn’t turn into a dance floor at this point in a Crypt Trip show!
The third song “Aquarian Daydream” has a tortured beginning, with distorted guitar leading us on a Floydian vision and washed out vocals reassuring us, “We can still reach the river,” as we float along effortlessly on our journey’s way. This is anything but a slow jam, however; halfway in Crypt Trip is already breaking into another jam accompanied by what sounds like organ, but could well be just a pedal effect. It wasn’t hard for me to close my eyes and imagine the Texas trio joining the aforementioned Brothers Allman in a live jam on some dusty summer’s eve.
“Rio Vista” is the fourth song is right into feel good territory. This was very typical of the kind of songs I’d be shaking my moneymaker to as a teenager. Three of the four songs that follow appeared on 'Mabon Songs’ (2016), a three-track release that includes “Natural Child,” which the band donated to 'Doomed & Stoned in Texas 2017' – our ongoing fundraiser for the Houston Food Bank.
“Soul Games” is a nice all-around soulful, funky finisher – and quite an exciting one at that, with its fantastic rhythm guitar play and beguiling vocal harmonies. Fans of Crypt Trip have been patiently waiting for an album of this caliber and, all things considered, Rootstock has been worth the wait. A fellow reviewer, FDJ, stated it simply: “Awesome is too small a word for this album.” We must happily concur.
- Papa Paul & Billy Goate