Rainy Days & Broken Hearts
First Appeared in The Music Box, March 1999, Volume 6, #3
Written by John Metzger
Stormy Mondays hails from Oviedo, Spain where it was founded in 1991. A year later, the group first gained media attention when Guns and Roses guitarist Slash was so moved by one of its performances that he decided to join the band on stage, resulting in a laid-back jam session. After releasing several demo tapes over the next several years, the ensemble began to work on its first full-length album Rainy Days and Broken Hearts, which was released last year.
As can be expected from an outfit that takes its name from the T-Bone Walker staple, Stormy Mondays' style is centered around American roots music. The band mixes Stax soul, pop, blues, and folk, and it draws as much from today's roots-oriented groups as it does from Bob Dylan, The Byrds, and a variety of European acts from the '60s and '70s.
There's a raw edge to most of Rainy Days & Broken Hearts, and at times the Stormy Mondays still sounds like a bar band -- albeit a good one. The group pulls from a lot of different influences, and combine these influences in ways that play to its collective talent.
After a majestic piano solo titled Disappointed, Stormy Mondays segues into The Wrong Dream -- a catchy pop tune that blends The Byrds with the Counting Crows. The Dylan-influenced folk song Blue as the Night features guest Elliott Murphy sharing vocal and acoustic guitar duties with Jorge Otero. In addition, on several tracks, the Stormy Mondays employs a horn section that draws close comparisons to the music of the Rolling Stones (Southwind) and Van Morrison (I'm Just Going to Sleep).
Tomorrow's the Day is perhaps the best track on Rainy Days & Broken Hearts. It beautifully melds a Stones-based horn section with a John Mayall meets mid-'70s, Eric Clapton-style blues groove. As the song progresses, it explodes into what can only be described as Derek & the Dominoes performing the Grateful Dead's Franklin's Tower. The twin electric guitar leads of Otero and Nacho Garcia burn with fiery, energetic passion and demonstrate where Stormy Mondays is capable of taking its music in a live setting.
On Rainy Days and Broken Hearts, Stormy Mondays shows a lot of promise, bringing a fresh approach to sounds that have bounced back and forth across the Atlantic for more than three decades. Given additional time to gel as a band and to further cultivate its own songwriting style, this group could very well produce some truly amazing music. On its debut, the outfit certainly is off to a great start.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1999 The Music Box