There’s a real energetic pulse that’s at the forefront of JD and the RetroRyders and their newest singles “Good for the Soul” and “Save Me (From Myself)”. In a time where rock music has seemingly faded into the background as pop and soft-spoken indie has taken up most of the musical landscape, it’s nice to experience a band whose influences are wildly apparent from the Tom Petty, Blue Oyster Cult, and even slight evoking of The Kinks, but aren’t bound to just recreating those songs without bringing anything of their own personality to the table. Back to back, the tracks bounce wonderfully off each other and should be listened to that way.
The pacing is brisk and that’s once again helped by the controlled but almost frenetic energy that really kicks off with “Save Me (From Myself)”, a song that almost serves as a cry for help as JD (real name Joe DeMeo) sings about the stuck feeling that I think many can relate to in these really trying times and how he needs someone to save him, but there’s no one there. It sounds a little morbid, but it feels more “Don’t Do Me Like That” but with the wit and brevity of “A Rebel Without a Clue”.
JD’s voice has a really interesting texture in the way he croons, always on key, but almost like he’s pushing himself a little too hard, but all in service of a captivating performance that always has to gripped tight. The lyrical composition isn’t flashy, with mentioning of the world, the TV, internal thoughts of the past and what to do next, and that matter of facts also helps ground the song in a real relatable manner that makes me think it could act as a perfect gateway for younger music fans who are maybe looking for something to engage with that’s on the simpler side but without being simplistic.
“Good for the Soul” slows things down, if only by a hair to really let the lingering feelings of unrest bubble to the forefront as JD with some excellent accompaniment of his backing vocal crew and the utterly astounding instrumentation of his guitar and drum set create the kind of perfect companion song for a long drive. There’s a real everyman quality that shines through and it’s intoxicating and perfectly has its fingers on the pulse of our current unrest and it often evokes the ideas of memory and the past as a clear way of highlighting where we were in sharp contrast to the unhappiness of what we feel now.
All of this packaged in a killer pair of tracks that will be a godsend for anyone starved of some true modern rock that honors the past but has its heart set on the future, which is fitting since, in essence, that’s what these songs are about. I don’t know if this will be everyone’s cup of tea if only because of what can be considered “vintage” sonic aesthetics, but I recommend getting lost in these tracks.
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