Personnel: Branden Santos (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, slide guitar, harp); Aaron "Little Rock" Piedraita (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Johnny Santana (vocals, banjo, harp); Mark Schafler (vocals, harp, kazoo, drums, washboard, percussion); Arthur Alexander (12-string guitar, classical guitar, dobro, piano); Alex "Jm" Galvan (piano, grand piano); Levi Alvarez (electric bass).
Audio Mixer: Arthur Alexander.
Recording information: Art Institute of California Studios, Santa Monica; Arteksound Studio, Burbank, CA.
Photographers: Christian Arias; Victor Montanez.
While tons of blues rock bands over the years have struggled to follow the path blazed by the Rolling Stones in the '60s, the Bloodhounds have added a new wrinkle to the formula: they'd like to be the Lovin' Spoonful, too. On their debut album, 2014's Let Loose, the Bloodhounds have clearly borrowed a few moves from the Stones and their colleagues on tunes like "Saint Dee" and "They Call'm the LSC," and Aaron "Little Rock" Piedraita and Branden Santos certainly get the guitar sounds right, while Johnny Santana and Mark Schafler are a solid rhythm section. But they can also make like an urban jug band on tunes like "Dusty Bibles and Silver Spoons," "Hey Lonnie," and "Olderbudweiser," where they sound right at home, like a snarkier version of John Sebastian's great band in their earlier days, and they're certainly good fun in this style. It's also a fair guess that someone in the band owns a copy of the Nuggets box set, since "Security" and "Try a Little Reefer" both sound like the band is channeling yet another '60s influence, vintage garage rock. The production by Arthur Alexander (not the great soul star the Stones covered back in the day) is clean and nicely detailed, and he gets the sound just right for the jug band stuff. The Bloodhounds are fine when they pull out their blues-wailing moves on Let Loose, but when they turn down the volume, they come up with something that truly sets them apart, and those are the moments that are most impressive on this album. ~ Mark Deming