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Blunt Society experiments with eclectic second album

The Blunt boys are back, and what a difference two years makes.

Blunt Society’s freshman offering, released in September of 1999, was a rhyming and rocking paean to all things hardcore, punk and funk. The self-titled, 22-song recording was done mostly live and coincided with the band’s reputation as an exciting live group. The difference between the tunes on Blunt Society’s new release, Blunt Like Me, and its earlier music is that where the band once combined instruments and vocals all set at maximum levels for a more in-your-face approach, the new stuff has the band taking an increasingly dynamic approach to songwriting.

The result is a loose collective of homegrown sounds that has pushed Blunt Society up the ladder of proficiency.

No category can describe Blunt Like Me — not when flutes, congas and saxophones share time with searing guitars, lumbering bass lines and vocals sung in Spanish. There’s dance-hall ska, a la The Specials, on “All My Life,” Latin stylings on the excellent “Guajira Unidad,” and the soft-to-loud slamming of “La Cottonmouth,” a fun and interesting take on a regional favorite. But there’s much, much more.

Adrian Martinez has taken over the lead vocal duties, save for on “Once Blunt” and “Guajira,” and his vocal approach has improved and diversified. The band added William Zamora to help Martinez shoulder the guitar load and the two combine for complimentary guitar interplay that’s not too overpowering. Bassist Andrew Mioduchowski ably weaves intricate bass lines into the band’s sound, helping to formulate the sprawling, yet cohesive groove. Luke Cordova’s always-unconventional, intricate drum kit work and percussionist Pablo Sanhueza help to further spice up the production, while saxophonist Chris Quintela is lilting at certain points and screeching at others, making his contributions less of a mere inclusion and more of a necessity.

The melding of musical instruments gets somewhat chaotic at times, such as on the refrain in “Blood Runs Red,” but the chaos embodies what Blunt Society is about in the live set — and an energetic live performance is what the band has become renowned for.

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Blunt Like Me deserves a listen. The band is certainly one of the most original in the scene at this time, and though Blunt Society has become a staple among the Albuquerque club circuit, it seems to have forsaken what is popular to forge a sound proprietary to itself. Local music fans should appreciate Blunt Society’s determination in accomplishing this.

The band says, “Once you go Blunt, you don’t go back,” and as for me, I’m already looking forward to what this band will do next.


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