The Blizzard of 78 released their second album, Book of Lies (available at tbo78.com and iTunes) on Tuesday, and at first glance you could assume that the veteran ex-Delta Clutch members had abandoned their fiery barroom guitar rock chops in favor of some newly subdued religious ditties, with song titles such as "Pray," "Mercy," and "The Last Temptation," or a quick listen to the acoustic and unnerving "God Eat God." Not to worry, as the quintet continues to deliver the rock on their sophomore effort, and are looking to raise some hell at Jake's Bar & Grille on Saturday (the 13th) at a CD release party show with friends Von Doom opening up.
GETTING TO THE LIGHT The Blizzard of '78.
"I love things that express spiritual or religious questions in a paradoxical sort of fashion," TBO78 singer Paul "Pip" Everett explains in a Lies making-of documentary posted at myspace.com/theblizzardof78, "You gotta have this blackness, this darkness, to get to this light."
When I spoke with guitarist Nate Leavitt this week, he said that he "wasn't surprised by the religious topics Pip's singing about, but more his conviction of them.
"There was some talk amongst us that the album was possibly too 'God' heavy and we're the complete opposite of a Christian band," Leavitt said, "but with an album title like Book of Lies and a song titled 'God Eat God,' I don't think we'll be misunderstood.
"We want Pip to write and sing about what is important and genuine to him since that always makes for a better performance."
Album opener "The Song" hits all the right notes, with a fuzzy guitar solo from Leavitt, the foot-stomping piano of Brian Syrjala, and drummer Paul Myers providing the big pop, along with Pip projecting a vocal swagger found throughout. Similar to their '06 debut, Where All Life Hangs, Book incorporates a few mellow numbers with the big hooks and midtempo, soulful rock gems; songs like "Mercy" and "Pray" are tailormade to engage packed dive bars, and here's hoping that a catchy track like "Time and Place" is released as a single and gets some well-deserved recognition. Former Delta Clutch/TBO78/Buffalo Tom keyboardist Phil Aiken lends his skills on a few tracks as does the horn section from Eli "Paperboy" Reed, particularly on the unabashed pop nugget "Come Back Now."
The band reports that a national tour is in the works and they're prepared to debut "most, if not all" of the new album on Saturday to their kinda-sorta hometown fans.
"Technically we are more of a Boston band," bassist Chris Cugini said. "We practice and record there, but [Pawtucket resident] Pip is very much a Rhode Islander, and we wrote much of this new album in a Providence warehouse.
"We play Providence more than Boston," Cugini said, "and I love Jake's and the crowd we always get there."
THE BLIZZARD OF 78 | VON DOOM | Jake's Bar & Grille, 373 Richmond St, Providence | December 13 @ 10 pm | 401.453.5253