THE BEAUTIFUL VICIOUS CYCLE OF LIFE
Pretty Mean Records ‚ ‚ ‚
11 slices of everyday life – Georgia style
Daniel Hutchens comes well recommended. He is highly regarded in his hometown of Athens, Georgia, lauded by Patterson Hood (Drive By Truckers) and apparently a mainstay of the Southern rock scene for the past 25 years with his band Bloodkin. THE BEAUTIFUL VICIOUS CYCLE OF LIFE is his third solo album and it proliferates with blue collar, hard workin’ Americana rock. Think of John Mellencamp and you’re halfway there.
Over 11 songs Hutchens delivers some fine vignettes and homilies, all delivered with a chugging and twangy verve. He sings about Pretty Girls In Summer Dresses, love on the run (Tearing Up The Tiles), living for the day (Spend it All) and addiction (American Country Ghosts) but the songs lack that spark which might separate them from the numerous others that trod the same territory. There is a glint of it on the opening Jack Nicholson Grin (at the very least the title makes you want to listen to the song) and indeed there’s a hop and a skip here that is invigorating as the song pummels along.
The title song benefits from a change in pace being a bluesier number than its brethren, slowly uncoiling as Hutchens’ sings of his dream of a brand new motorcycle and a brand new girl. At least Hutchens is working within a traditional model, a touch of country, some rock and some blues – with no evidence of the new country bluster that is fuelled by beer and babes – and the final song, All Golden Traces, does have a fine faded majesty about it. One for the fans and for fairweather folks, worth checking out. Paul Kerr