I became aware of Liza Colby through the Sweet Things where she has provided backing vocals for them in the live setting at times. It became quickly apparent that she might be an artist to watch so I started picking up some past singles and EPs that were okay but never kept me coming back for a lot of listens. Still, there has always been something there that told me I would be rewarded in time as she continued to develop her sound. I would consider this her full-length debut at a compact 8 songs that recall the albums of the ’70s, and this is the best music she has released to my ears. Her approach here should also cross over several genres as the artists that come to mind are a diverse bunch. She brings in a lot of rock, a little psychedelic, soul, blues, and other elements to carve out an album that deserves to be heard and played many times. Every year, there are albums that kind of simmer beneath the surface, and, over the course of the next few years, I realize that they are still getting played regularly. I can see this album in that role.

‘Cool Hand’ powers out of the box to start the album with a distorted bass (Alec Morton) and drums (C.P. Roth) segueing into a restrained verse where Colby sings somewhat softly and flexes her vocals with the return of the distortion. The way the music is recorded I am at times reminded of the likes of Kyuss and other desert rock bands but with a more commercial touch. The chorus here is not my favorite on the album as it can feel too repetitive. A cool drum pattern introduces ‘Creep On’ where the bass and guitar (Jay Shepard) both creep into the song. The swirling distorted guitar and bass riff are phenomenal together. The hard bluesy groove brings in another simple chorus lyrically, but this one works much better form me as it slithers in and out of the music. The guitar solo provides an air guitar option but also the ability to just close your eyes and lose yourself in the sound.

With ‘Try Me,’ the band turn up the tempo with the groove leading to some great drum fills and a great chorus. The mix here allows the entire band to be heard and comes straight from the ’70s with a jolt of adrenalin added to pick up the pace. The first half of the album comes to a close with the rocking ‘Young Girl.’ It feels like it could go off on a 10-minute jam at any time; it doesn’t hit the heights of the two previous songs but does provide a satisfying close to the first half of the album. My favorite part of the song is where everything breaks down for the bridge which gets some time to truly lull the listener closer to the speaker before kicking it back up for the finish.

Side 2 begins with the sultry blues of ‘Shake You’ which is dominated by Colby’s vocals. The inflections of the guitar provide nice texture with the eventual peak releasing into a guitar solo that is spot on the money. The crescendo then falls back for another gradual build and satisfying close. The rumbling rock of ‘Eye On You’ gives the band an aggressive song that still maintains a lot of softer touches even when Colby tells us she has “always been an Alpha.” The chorus hits some commercial heights where its huge hook and backing vocals release a steel trap on you. This has been one that has battled to be my favorite from the album.

Heading to the finale, ‘Oh Baby’ continues the hot streak with some simmering blues-rock that might be the best performance Colby has put on a recording to this point in her career. This is the one that gets the hair on the arm to stand during the verses. I love the guitar riff that comes to the surface each time the song builds in intensity. With many of the songs here exceeding five minutes, this is a great album to just get lost in when it plays. I could see the Big Brother Holding Company coming up with something like this, especially when Colby holds that last note. ‘Zero to Freakout’ provides another platform for the bass to be the dominant musical hook during the verses and sets up the burning guitar riffs. The chorus carries the song to another level and is the best on the album for me. At six minutes, this epic has several passages that make it a masterpiece, and I would hope this is also the live closer for the current live shows.

At eight songs, this could have felt lean as an album but instead really hits like the quality albums we used to get back in the day before people decided that every inch of tape on a cassette or space on a CD needed to be filled. This album does something truly remarkable in today’s day and age in that it gets stronger as it goes. I would say the back half of the album sets an incredibly high standard, and, while I don’t think the first half is as good, it still has plenty of highlights. Colby and the band have assembled an album that can appeal to a variety of crowds and musical genres. You may not get it on your first listen but the music and hooks will infiltrate your soul and compel you to play this album for a long time to come.

‘Object to Impossible Destination’ is available now.



Author: Gerald Stansbury