Music

Dan Luke and the Raid Try Out Lots of Different Sounds on Their Debut

Photo: Dylan Reyes / Courtesy of New West Records

There are a lot of good elements on Out of the Blue. Kentucky rockers Dan Luke and the Raid might make some great music in the future, but they aren't quite there yet.

Out of the Blue
Dan Luke and the Raid

New West

11 October 2019

Out of the Blue, the debut album from Dan Luke and the Raid, sounds like a record from a young rock band still trying to find its specific style. Probably because that's what it is. The Bowling Green, Kentucky-based quartet comes with a pedigree, as frontman Dan Schultz (middle name Lucas, explaining the band name) is the younger brother of Cage the Elephant's Matt and Brad Schultz. That may explain why Dan Luke and the Raid have a record deal, but since Dan is a much younger sibling (12 and 14 years), he had the opportunity to grow and develop his own tastes and find his own bandmates.

Out of the Blue is a very listenable album, with its ten tracks showing influences from across the rock spectrum. 1960s pop, 2000s garage rock, psychedelia, and southern rock all make their presence felt, while Dan's voice, simultaneously a bit nasally and a bit raspy, helps tie it all together. The opening song gives a pretty good idea of what the band is about. "Farrah Mantra" opens with and uses synth drums throughout, but the fat bass guitar tone and the staccato, distorted guitar sounds of the song remain mostly consistent throughout the album. Schultz sings through his nose, but it's not like a whiny pop-punk singer from the late 1990s. His voice sounds more like a country singer without the twang.

The second track "Disco Is As Disco Does" is a great title for a song that's just alright. The minor key verse is a little creepy, with carefully picked guitars and synths adding atmosphere. The song brightens considerably in the chorus, though, with a catchy, 1960s pop sing-along and a synth solo that serves as the bridge. The two different parts don't mesh together very well, which hurts the song as a whole.

It isn't until the third song, "Exoskeleton", that Dan Luke and the Raid really show what they're capable of. It opens with a catchy, quick guitar line that's ably accompanied by J. Anthony Joiner's bassline. Once the verse starts, drummer Kendrick Don-Reid Brent plays quick 16th notes on a tightly closed hi-hat, keeping up the song's urgency even as the opening guitar line gives way to simple chords. The band hits the pre-chorus, and the guitar line returns, this time with guitarist-keyboardist Dylan Graves playing a second, complementary guitar line. The chorus itself features a driving beat and a soaring vocal melody that push an already intense song to new heights. It's reminiscent of the best of early 2000s bands like Bloc Party and one of the highlights of this album.

From there the album meanders through an enjoyable set of songs that range from the quiet, acoustic guitar and synth-chord laden "Last Goodbyes" to the raucous "Black Cat Heavy Metal", with its heavy beat, distorted vocals, and big, crunchy guitars on the chorus. "Golden Age" may be the most interesting, with its fast and jagged but simple guitar riff being one of the record's most ear-catching. It also features a very noticeable time change, going back and forth from 4/4 to 6/8. "Money Mouth" has some really nice dual guitar work, and the album's best attempt at a quiet verse and a loud, catchy chorus. And then there's the poppy, laid back "Rita Repulsa", a song that isn't particularly interesting musically. But lyrically it abandons Schultz's usual "I've been partying too hard and now have to face the consequences" topics for a high concept song about the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers villain.

Out of the Blue is an album that I consistently liked, but it never blew me away, even on its best tracks. Schultz has some skill as a songwriter, but I don't think he's quite found his voice yet. The guitars, from Schultz and the sadly now-deceased Dylan Graves, show scattered moments of real inventiveness. The guitar solo on "Farrah Mantra" ends by going into a double-time version of the melody, and it sounds like Schultz is working hard to pull it off. That was interesting to me, because with a blues or heavy metal virtuoso playing the same solo that bit would be smooth and cool, but it wouldn't sound nearly as impressive. I think the band's standout player, though, is bassist J. Anthony Joiner, who always plays something interesting while seldom just doubling the guitars or settling for sitting on the basic chords. There are a lot of good elements here, and I wouldn't be surprised if Dan Luke and the Raid have some great music in them in the future, but they aren't quite there yet.

6


Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Books

A Fresh Look at Free Will and Determinism in Terry Gilliam's '12 Monkeys'

Susanne Kord gets to the heart of the philosophical issues in Terry Gilliam's 1995 time-travel dystopia, 12 Monkeys.

Music

The Devonns' Debut Is a Love Letter to Chicago Soul

Chicago's the Devonns pay tribute the soul heritage of their city with enough personality to not sound just like a replica.

Music

Jaye Jayle's 'Prisyn' Is a Dark Ride Into Electric Night

Jaye Jayle salvage the best materials from Iggy Pop and David Bowie's Berlin-era on Prisyn to construct a powerful and impressive engine all their own.

Music

Kathleen Edwards Finds 'Total Freedom'

Kathleen Edwards is back making music after a five-year break, and it was worth the wait. The songs on Total Freedom are lyrically delightful and melodically charming.

Television

HBO's 'Lovecraft Country' Is Heady, Poetic, and Mangled

Laying the everyday experience of Black life in 1950s America against Cthulhuian nightmares, Misha Green and Jordan Peele's Lovecraft Country suggests intriguing parallels that are often lost in its narrative dead-ends.

Music

Jaga Jazzist's 'Pyramid' Is an Earthy, Complex, Jazz-Fusion Throwback

On their first album in five years, Norway's Jaga Jazzist create a smooth but intricate pastiche of styles with Pyramid.

Music

Finding the Light: An Interview with Kathy Sledge

With a timeless voice that's made her the "Queen of Club Quarantine", Grammy-nominated vocalist Kathy Sledge opens up her "Family Room" and delivers new grooves with Horse Meat Disco.

Books

'Bigger Than History: Why Archaeology Matters'

On everything from climate change to gender identity, archaeologists offer vital insight into contemporary issues.

Film

'Avengers: Endgame' Culminates 2010's Pop Culture Phenomenon

Avengers: Endgame features all the expected trappings of a superhero blockbuster alongside surprisingly rich character resolutions to become the most crowd-pleasing finalés to a long-running pop culture series ever made.

Music

Max Richter's 'VOICES' Is an Awe-Inspiring and Heartfelt Soundscape

Choral singing, piano, synths, and an "upside-down" orchestra complement crowd-sourced voices from across the globe on Max Richter's VOICES. It rewards deep listening, and acts as a global rebuke against bigotry, extremism and authoritarianism.

Music

DYLYN Dares to "Find Myself" by Facing Fears and Life's Dark Forces (premiere + interview)

Shifting gears from aspiring electropop princess to rock 'n' rule dream queen, Toronto's DYLYN is re-examining her life while searching for truth with a new song and a very scary-good music video.

Music

JOBS Make Bizarre and Exhilarating Noise with 'endless birthdays'

Brooklyn experimental quartet JOBS don't have a conventional musical bone in their body, resulting in a thrilling, typically off-kilter new album, endless birthdays.

Music

​Nnamdï' Creates a Lively Home for Himself in His Mind on 'BRAT'

Nnamdï's BRAT is a labyrinth detailing the insular journey of a young, eclectic DIY artist who takes on the weighty responsibility of reaching a point where he can do what he loves for a living.

Music

Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few Play It Cool​

Austin's Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few perform sophisticatedly unsophisticated jazz/Americana that's perfect for these times

Music

Eleanor Underhill Takes Us to the 'Land of the Living' (album stream)

Eleanor Underhill's Land of the Living is a diverse album drawing on folk, pop, R&B, and Americana. It's an emotionally powerful collection that inspires repeated listens.

Music

How Hawkwind's First Voyage Helped Spearhead Space Rock 50 Years Ago

Hawkwind's 1970 debut opened the door to rock's collective sonic possibilities, something that connected them tenuously to punk, dance, metal, and noise.

Books

Graphic Novel 'Cuisine Chinoise' Is a Feast for the Eyes and the Mind

Lush art and dark, cryptic fables permeate Zao Dao's stunning graphic novel, Cuisine Chinoise.

Music

Alanis Morissette's 'Such Pretty Forks in the Road' Is a Quest for Validation

Alanis Morissette's Such Pretty Forks in the Road is an exposition of dolorous truths, revelatory in its unmasking of imperfection.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.