BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Rocco Deluca is a fiercely independent purveyor of an unlikely motif. “Fierce,” meaning that his music seizes the senses in what often comes across like an aural assault. “Independent,” in the sense that his style is like no other. Comparisons fall short when describing Deluca’s general MO, an eerie mishmash of rumbling tempos and wailing melodies.
“There’s a world of hurt coming down on me,” Deluca moans at one particular juncture, and rarely is there a moment that goes by where that claim isn’t borne out. The fact that he coaxes these intriguing sounds from Dobro, lap steel and pedal steel guitar further attests to Deluca’s ingenuity. Still, the songs on this self-titled set can be daunting. “Two Bushes” and “Colors of the Cold” are ghostly and unnerving. “Free” and “Feather and Knife” convey a somewhat freakish fervor, a shimmering yet evasive ambiance that tempers this album throughout. Deluca’s uncommonly high vocals remain a constant, conveying a sense of tenderness and vulnerability that generally moots any sinister intent. The sad sway of “Through Fire” and the supremely soulful “Simple Thing” create the impression that Deluca may be a balladeer at heart, one adept at creating sobering narratives that resonate with a somewhat shadowy appeal.
Forlorn but fascinating, Rocco Deluca is an uncommon achievement.
DOWNLOAD: “Simple Thing,” “Colors of Cold,” “Feather and Knife”