Blues-rock is all the rage these days, with your Jack Whites & your Gary Clark Jr.s, but far too often it feels shallow, rock with mainstream appeal and guitar-wankery. Bringing back the emotional vitality of blues-rock is Brooklyn’s Courtesy Tier on Everyone’s OK.
Admittedly, Everyone opens with straight-up speed riffing in single “Cold” (QRO review), but it’s killer guitar playing on the active & pressing piece. Nowhere does the trio feel like they are ‘going through the motions,’ but rather gripping their music & their audience. “Little Rock” is an effective & evocative blues-rock procession, while closer “Home” is slow and powerful. The preceding “Mila Says” is kind of like The Black Keys back in their early days, before they got so big as to have rivalries with your Jack Whites & Justin Biebers. Meanwhile, Courtesy Tier also experiment a bit with the more effects-laden, encompassing title track – in today’s auto-tuned, synthed-up world, Courtesy Tier decidedly stay away from all that (is cheaper, that way…), and so are the rare act where effects have a ‘less is more’ value.
One could never begrudge the hard-working Courtesy Tier if they hit the big-time like so many modern-day blues-rock outfits (and QRO would be able to say, “We knew them when…”), but their visceral nature is something truly special.