As the saying goes, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” In their latest album Greasy, Austin’s Roxy Roca rolls in with not just squeaky wheels but engines revving. The former soul-funk band wants to be seen and heard, trading their horns for powerful vocals and rumbling guitar riffs.
While rock ‘n’ roll is timeless, Greasy instantly feels very much like “your dad’s rock.” There are echoes of AC/DC’s power in the opener “Yazoo Queen,” and of Journey’s angst in “Lost & Lonely.” You can hear a bit of CCR in the lyrics of “Take Me Back,” and feel some U2 energy at the start of “Mean Old World.” Sure, it might feel familiar, but the drums, keys and in-your-face vocals and guitar lines will make your head nod nonetheless.
Roxy Roca has always been drawn to the greats, so it was only a matter of time before the band showed its soul in a completely different way. The album, which started out as almost 20 songs, is edited down to nine that effectively mark this shift in sound. The band says this move to rock bubbled up during the pandemic.
Roxy Roca excels at giving what we’d expect from classic rock. “Life Is Grand” and “Take Me Back” are easy listening; they’re tracks you blast in your car while you’re cruising or hanging out at the lake. Newcomer Adam Pryor on the keys gets a moment to shine throughout the bridge of “Life Is Grand.” “Take Me Back” immediately follows, with Taye Cannon’s confident vocals showing Roxy Roca really does know this genre.
Grittier vocals take over “Your Love,” the single out earlier this month, which lyrically marks a transformation of someone who’s found real love, and it’s completely different from what they expected. “Your Love” feels like the complement to Roxy Roca’s previous hit, the soulful “Try My Love.” The groovy saxophone solo is now replaced with Babis “BB” Tyropolous taking it away on the guitar, echoing the excitement that encompasses love’s early stages.
However, not all is lost in terms of that old soul-funk vibe. “Muscadine Wine” gives a well-needed break from the high-energy, sky-soaring sound. Over steady drums and casual chords, the band’s past James Brown influence reemerges for a moment through Cannon’s vocals and sensual lyrics: “Bring me something that’s real, something that’s strong, something that’s mine / Make it sweet as a grape on a muscadine vine / Let’s make wine.”
To celebrate Greasy, Roxy Roca will host an album release show at 3TEN ACL Live in Austin Nov. 3.
Cover photo courtesy the artist (roxyroca.com)