Misadventure marks the fifth solo album by Rick Shaffer and he's back in the garage again, with some of his best songs, performance and production to date. The ragged edges, room echo, distortion, great hooks, and underlying menace are right in place for some compelling tension and adrenaline drenched garage blues.
The usual suspects, Boo Boo, Leon and Les are once again on board, but this time augmented by Detroit musicians, Anna Burne, Del Robinson, and newcomer, Teddy "Boy" Rixon, all adding their unique contribution to create a modern garage sound, with all its "sonic impurities." The energy and fury of the sessions produced some "troublemaking racket" worthy of its primitive roots, and is hip shaking enough to keep any house party rocking.
The overall themes concern personal truth's, the cost of blind faith, and the acceptance, not dread, of the sinister undercurrent knocking on your front door.
The production and sound reflect a lean mid-sixties early Stones and Link Wray, mashed with a Shadows Of Knight, and The Chocolate Watchband trashy garage rock sound. The sound alternates the garage rock, with thick fuzzed-out garage blues, combined with the atmospherics of a Phil Specter / Joe Meek production vibe in its percussion and layered vocal treatment, creating an exciting loud, dirty and menacing sound.
“Fooling Me” is a pile-driver, real classic opener. Raw, loud, blazing minimalist guitar, a blues vocal narrative of druggy, surreal imagery, delivered short, sweet and to the point. While songs like "Help Me Now," "Commotion," "Out Of Time," and "Gone Gone Gone" are what you'd expect from Shaffer's garage sound. But, they’re expanded in this production, with more focus on background vocals, and stronger song and guitar hooks. This album's low-tech wallop is brutal and reaches full flower in tracks, "Some Say," "Turn It Up," "Listen Now," and the passionate roar of "Falling Down," is a slice of 70's Lou Reed and Bowie glam rock, pure and simple.
The foot does not come off the gas for one-second, but keeps the party moving, with mid-sixties British blues-rock, in the tracks, "To The Top" and "Get It." Both tracks are beautiful snippets of the best R&B sounds of the early Stones, and Pretty Things. Shaffer reveals himself as a pretty solid singer, and his own raw power vocals make for a quirky appeal.
The album closer, "Another High," sounds akin to Iggy Pop's, The Idiot, careening in flat-out distortion and driving percussion, dipped in a textural atmospheric palette to create a super fuzz modern garage sound. The music sounds like a dark, dense jam, and the bleakness, not just lyrically, but sonically, feels so menacing and confined that Shaffer's vocals are buried deep in the mix, screaming to deliver his sermon of the day.
Misadventure is a well-crafted "magical noise" of garage blues, by an artist who will never give up his vision, regardless of where it takes him.