Zach Williams and the Reformation – Electric Revival

January 01, 1970




The album title’s instructive: this Jonesboro, Arkansas,
outfit serves up a Southern rock-fueled brand of electric R&B, and in the
band’s intense delivery one whiffs the holy-rollin’ fire and brimstone of an
old-school tent revival. It’s not a matter of small consequence, either; Zach
Williams and the Reformation is so outrageously out of fashion as to be a
genuine alternative to whatever passes as “alternative” these days.


So don’t look for any traces of blip-hop, hoodie-approved
indiecentricity or world-beat mashups here. Instead, you’re gonna get a dose of
pure, unfiltered rawk like your bellbottoms-clad mama used to sing to ya as a
tyke, from the iconic likes of the Allmans, Derek & the Dominoes and Humble
Pie to such latterday practitioners as the Black Crowes, Gov’t Mule and the
North Mississippi Allstars. Hold that last thought – NMAS guitarist Luther
Dickinson sits in on album centerpiece “Angel With A Broken Wing,” an
epic-in-feel, waltz-time blooze featuring sinewy slide guitar in one speaker
and eerie tremolo riffs in the other as Williams, possessed of a soulful,
coal-black set of pipes, summons up the ghosts of Muscle Shoals while paying
tribute to a fallen darlin’ who still wields the power to set him free.


Elsewhere the band channels its inner Skynyrd (the Hammond
B3-fueled “Can U Feel Me”), serves up some righteous, Leon Russell-styled gospel
(“Take Me Home,” which, like “CUFM,” features lovely gal backing vox), and puts
the pedal to the metal in a glorious explosion of hard-edged psychedelia
(“Midnite Ride”). Throughout, there’s a vibe of utter commitment on the part of
Williams & Co., as if they’re intent on adding an additional context to
their album title: sometimes, some places, you just gotta reclaim a vintage
form, damn the finger-wagging hipsters, and bring it back up and into the
present. That, these guys do, in spades.


Standout Tracks: “”Take Me Home,” “Angel With A Broken Wing” FRED MILLS


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