Vintage Trouble is like a classic rock band that hasn’t even been around long enough to be canonized—channeling songs and styles of bygone eras, while only existing for a few years themselves. They’ve opened for mega rock stars spanning the alphabet, from AC/DC and Bon Jovi to The Who in just four years. Plus, they (and their music) starred in a Honda Civic commercial in early 2014.
The Bomb Shelter Sessions dropped in 2011 to Paste’s great surprise and glee, so much so that we invited the band to perform in our Decatur office and 2012 South by Southwest party in Austin. Frontman Ty Taylor struts, gyrates and twirls the mic stand like the Mick Jaggers and Rod Stewarts of the day, while yelping and crooning like Otis Redding and James Brown. And much of The Bomb Shelter Sessions matches that high-octane, fast-paced rock ‘n’ roll.
But as 1 Hopeful Rd. is Vintage Trouble’s first album for Blue Note Records, a noted jazz label, the band’s sophomore LP is notably more contained and reserved. Although the album starts off with the quick tempo, alternating percussion of bass drum-clap of “Run Like The River,” Vintage Trouble already migrates to ballad territory by the subsequent “From My Arms.”
Vintage Trouble doesn’t wear this newfound R&B and soul influence poorly, though. In fact, “Doin’ What You Were Doin’” grooves like Al Green with background doo-wops. Taylor’s falsetto range stars in “Shows What You Know” and the band could convincingly resurrect the blues-infused power ballad with songs like “If You Loved Me.” Although the slower 1 Hopeful Rd. likely won’t affect Vintage Trouble’s exuberant live performances or reputation, they’d do better to return to their high-energy recordings.