Discover more from Abandoned Albums
Album of the Day — November 24
Rookie — Rookie
Rookie — Rookie
Chicago based independent label, Bloodshot Records, is peerless when it comes to having the best independent artists.
Rookie is one of those artists.
Imagine if Richard Linklater’s brilliant ode to 1970s suburbia, Dazed and Confused, didn’t have a soundtrack.
I know, I know, stick with me here.
Imagine that Dazed and Confused was actually a sound …that’s what Rookie sounds like.
Rookie blends historical roots rock in the same way that Jackson Pollack blended colors in his paintings. Which is to say, it may appear messy, but it’s deliberate and seamless. And with both Rookie and Pollack, there’s a lot of color in there, but it is still uniquely its own thing.
On the band’s full-length debut, Rookie, you hear some of The Band, The Faces, Sweet, Get Your Wings era Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, Reconstruction of the Fables era R.E.M., Uncle Tupelo/Wilco/Son Volt — the list is long.
But that list of artists is either gonna whet your appetite or not — it whets mine.
This is not to say that the six-piece from Chicago doesn’t have its own sound; they do. Rookie writes taut, well-crafted songs deeply rooted in the best sounds of rock and roll — vocals, bass, drums, the Hammond B-3, and the unicorn of most modern rock bands, the triple-guitar assault.
It could be argued that if this were 1972, Rookie would’ve been label mates of The Allman Brothers Band on Capricorn Records. As such, they would’ve been staples at Capricorn founder Phil Walden’s annual “Barbecue and Summer Games” at his home in Macon, GA.
If you listen to Rookie’s album at the right volume, you can feel the summer heat from Macon, GA, and smell the BBQ with your eyes closed.
Rookie, both the band and the self-titled debut, doesn’t sound as though they’re looking to reinvent the wheel. There’s a reason no one has improved on the wheel's simplicity — (we’ll take the jet-pack discussion off-line); there’s NO reason to improve it. And like the wheel, when rock and roll is done right, it’s fucking flawless.
There is a slew of quotes on simplicity, but here are a few that sum up what makes Rookie so appealing:
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
— Albert Einstein
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
— Leonardo da Vinci
“Nature is pleased with simplicity.”
— Isaac Newton
The album’s first single, “I Can’t Have You, But I Want You,” is the perfect gateway drug into Rookie. And the accompanying video? Priceless. We follow a little girl around purchasing AC/DC’s High Voltage album, discovering the joys to be found (and heard) in a Gibson SG, and then stealing it. This video isn’t a cautionary tale of rock and roll; it’s a celebration of it!
If you want an introduction of what the band sounds like, I will point you to the 1:33 instrumental aptly named “Introduction II,” which flows flawlessly into “One Way Ticket” — you won’t find a more rewarding 4:30.
Maeri Ferguson in No Depression — “Rookie knows how to make an absolute party out of their arrangements. This is the kind of album you know will sound incredible live. Lead singer Max Loebman fires on all cylinders with his voice even-keeled at times (“Elementary Blues”) and then boisterous and full throttle at others (“Miss United States”)… Rookie may just be getting started, but they’re already miles ahead.”
Brian Q. Newcomb in The Firenote — “ It totally works, and with killer tracks like “Hold On Tight” and the six-minute album closer “E Jam” to remind us of an era when guitar players were “gods,” which suggests that Rookie have the goods to go the distance and become all-stars.”
It’s a damn shame that we’re in the throes of this damn pandemic because I would bet dollars to donuts that Rookie crushes these songs live. AH-HA! A little poking around, and my theory is correct — check out this performance Rookie did from Fat Recording Studio about one month ago.
Listening to Rookie, it’s nice to know that rock and roll ain’t dead yet.