Saratoga Springs’ Wild Adriatic has logged a good deal of miles on their way to many well deserved accolades as a live act. On their latest LP, Feel, they looked to their touring experience both for inspiration and style. In a recording session in Austin, with Grammy-nominated producer Frenchie Smith, they kept it simple. They avoided production bells and whistles, opting for a more organic and in-the-moment sound. The songs themselves were born on the road as well, in various writing retreats around the country, from Wisconsin to Virginia to Texas.
But this journey begins in Appleton, Wisconsin, site of some of the band’s most memorable shows. The opening track, “Appleton,” starts things off with an unexpectedly funky nod to Sly and the Family Stone. They ease into their more muscular moments with the slinky and soulful “Runnin’ Thru” and the infectious and poppy “Come Back Baby,” where guitarist Travis Gray works a gorgeous falsetto backed by the West End Horns.
There’s no looking back from there. Fueled up, the trio – Gray, Rich Derbyshire on bass and Mateo Vosganian on drums – step on the gas, letting loose on their energetic and soulful rock engine. When all three cylinders are firing, Wild Adriatic commands attention.
“Same As It Ever Was” establishes their ability to elevate a simple blues into a grooving and fist-pumping rocker – a formula they find more success with on “Hurricane Woman” and “Some Nerve.” Thumping bass, rollicking drums, ripping guitar riffs are all tied together with Gray’s unmistakable voice.
“Blaze of Love” blends their knack for funky grooves, powerful beats and soaring leads perfectly. The album closes with “Busman’s Holiday,” a deep rocking blues number that calls to mind Led Zeppelin and the Black Keys. Gray repeatedly sings, “I’m going back on the road.” This excellent collection of songs is ready to go with them there. Back where they all began.