Having managed to escape the ravages of a Chicago January, I fled to southern California and now I'm neck deep in surfy indie tunes.  Needless to say, Rick Shaffer's latest album Creatures of Impulse is a serious change of pace with his southern Mississippi swagger.  With a self described sound of garage blues, this rough and tumble album wastes no time making an impression.  Tucked away in this southern brew is Americana, folk, country and some good old fashioned rock n’ roll.  This is not Shaffer's first rodeo when it comes to making albums. Creatures of Impulse happens to be his ninth solo album and he has certainly mastered the sound he's going for.

There is a lot of free flying composition here.  You can tell Shaffer is not afraid to improvise and go with the flow.  The recording process was done collectively with all musicians present giving the whole album a live feeling.  There is no doubt this group is having a good time and those good vibes seem into everything.  There is definitely a translation of that electric energy into the songs and that's a big part of what works for the album.

The production element is an interesting one.  This album is clearly a son of the south with recording and mixing done in Como, Mississippi.  The only Yankee element here would be the mastering which was done in New Jersey.  At its core, the album has some solid, rough around the edges blues that I get into.  I appreciate the homage the group was paying to some of the blues greats of the past.  I think with a few production tweaks to both the instrumental and vocal elements, this album could have come off a little more up to date.  I think a good example of where a little modern twist can make a big difference was "Let Go."  Here there were some treatments to the guitar which gave the song a little more edge.  My hope is moving forward, Shaffer will continue to experiment more in this kind of way.

​This is a great album for anyone pining for some dirty south flavor, lord knows I was happy to switch things up.  Again, you can tell these guys are having fun and it's the kind of music that can liven up a space.  There are definitely a few noteworthy body moving jams in here.  I know that Shaffer's signature twang will leave a good taste in the mouths of many blues fans.

Rebecca Rothschild, Divide And Conquer, 2019