Age of Reason is a heck of a listen, but the concept album pretensions make this a bit of a slog.
Sarandon is a gritty, hard-charging rock band. They hit with a punk speed and fury, but with a prog-rock scope and precision. Their new record, Age of Reason, is -- with all that in mind -- very much a concept album about a frustrated man named Big Trev, who's determined to change his mundane life. The songs themselves show the frustration and passion behind this want, from the herky-jerky pop of "Big Trev" to the hefty funk-rock of "Dinosaur". Throughout the album, the players churn with energy, turning out cutting angles on the guitars, gut-rumbling bass and driving, floor-shaking percussion. Sarandon would be a force on this record, but unfortunately the "concept" part gets in their way. Big Trev jumps in between tracks and rambles about his lot in life during spoken-word snippets, and they do little for the album besides get in the way of some solid rock songs. When Sarandon displays their many skills, Age of Reason is a heck of a listen. But when the concept album pretensions work their way in, this becomes a bit of a slog.