Runaway Blues –  Jarel Portman (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Jarel_Portman_coverPortman is one of those musicians who understands that nothing is truly new but that the way forward is by using the same creative building blocks as before but just putting them together in new ways. It would be easy to merely dismiss Runaway Blues as just another blending of pop and rock, using the accessibility and slickness of the former to tame the rawer and baser urges of the latter. Dig a little deeper and you will find something much cleverer at work.

Runaway Blues is a song built through bringing contrasting elements together and using them to complement rather than conflict with each other. So the slick west-coast rock sound is given some edgier muscle from cooler east coast climes, intricate bass grooves roll through the often spacious nature of the lead work, intricate musical motifs dance around the edge of the song and pop immediacy is spliced with effortless cool and energetic drive.

The result is music which seems at once coming from a familiar place yet leads a way towards a new rock dawn, which has a timeless quality in that it could have been had its genesis in any decade since the seventies but which bristles with cutting edge production and ultra-modernity. It’s a conundrum but then if everything was easily explained the world would be a dull place to live.

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