On his first self titled release Benjamin Booker comes storming out of the gate with stripped down infectious rock and roll that you can feel in your bones and shaking hips. The New Orleans based guitarist/singer has turned heads with his playing and for good reason as these songs shake rattle and boogie all over the place.
The rumbling “Violent Shiver” is a perfectly titled burst of energy to get the album flowing while the fuzzy twisting “Always Waiting” is brimming with pent up sexual energy. The blues take a tumble on “Chippewa” as Booker is backed by some sweet B3 work that continues in the deliberately paced burn of “Slow Coming”.
Where Booker shines brightest though are on the out and out rockin’ ravers. The best of them like “Wicked Waters”, “Old Hearts” and especially “Have You Seen My Son?” are rambunctious offerings that could ramble off the tracks at any moment, but pull it all back home at the correct time. Driven by pounding drums and heavy guitar strumming all three are ripping examples of his talent.
Booker sings in a raspy voice displaying a love for older songs that “are real” and that retro vibe fits perfectly here. Singing about searching and trying to find himself seems to be a common theme, but the looseness of lyrics manages to encompass lots of emotions and thoughts. While not pinning things down specifically he has opened up for a more communal feeling.
Reminiscent of Hanni El Khatib’s roots rock winner from last year Head In The Dirt, but where Khatib had touches of LA commercial sheen, Booker veers off for a healthy dose of New Orleans sweaty grime. The future is bright for this southern rocker and the present is pretty damn great when you have Benjamin Booker blasting in the speakers.