Continental’s “All A Man Can Do” is solid rock n’ roll
I’ve been drowning in heavier concept albums lately, so it’s nice and refreshing to get back to some good, basic rock n’ roll with Continental’s debut “All A Man Can Do”. After forming up in late 2010, the foursome of Rick Barton, Stephen Barton, Tommy Mazalewski and Dave DePrest has been touring pretty relentlessly ever since, stopping briefly to record this solid effort, full of easy-to-listen-to rock songs, due for release on July 17th.
This album turns over a new leaf for Rick Barton—it’s his first stint as frontman and principle songwriter, and he manages to fuse together some good rock, a little punk edge, and surprisingly, a hell of a lot of country, and turn it all into something really enjoyable. The country influence kicks off the album with a guitar intro on “Curious Spell,” the first and arguably one of the best songs on the album. “Shine” and “Downtown Lounge” are both catchy tunes that make you think you’re listening to something cool by John Mellencamp. If you talk to Rick, you’ll hear a lot about his time as a member of the Dropkick Murphys, but “All A Man Can Do” definitely takes a big step away from that genre, replacing the gritty edge with a more mellow, mature sound.
You won’t have to read too deeply into these songs to get the meaning behind the lyrics—according to Rick, the band’s goal was to create a set of “instantly memorable” songs with catchy lyrics and good hooks, and on that they totally succeeded.
There are a few tracks you really can’t miss, besides “Curious Spell,” which I already mentioned. One is the spirited anthem “Red.” The title track “All A Man Can Do” is also worth a spin for the contrast between its catchy rhythm and bitter lyrics. On the upbeat side, check out “Wide Open Space,” which questions the status quo of the “white picket fence/ that got us into this great big mess.” “Time” is a great break-up song, with lyrics like, “It’s always been about me/ I never cared about you,” and the penultimate “Wrecking Ball” is a bit more introspective, but keeps the solid country/rock vibe going. The album finishes up with “Hold Me,” and its slower tempo is a cathartic close to the 13-track album.
–great rock n’ roll
–catchy, easily-relatable lyrics
–best tracks: 1, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, and 12
The only negatives I can think of here are that Continental rarely plays in Boston, so you might not get a chance to hear these songs live for quite some time, and if you’re farther afield, don’t expect an album release show—they don’t do that sort of thing. Continental is, however, embarking on a cross-country tour next month, and you can check out the dates and places at www.continentalband.com. If you want a jumpstart on All a Man Can Do before it drops on 7/17, check out Mutiny on the Microphone’s upcoming podcasts to hear a sneak preview.
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