The Blue Van The Art of Rolling

[TVT; 2005]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: classic rock, classic r&b
Others: Kinks, Cream, The Who

Music nostalgia is back in a big way. So many bands jump at the opportunity to pay tribute to their favorite bands, no matter the musical era. The Blue Van's no different, laying down songs heavy on '60s rock and r&b. The Art of Rolling, the bands rollicking debut, rocks through 12 tracks in no time flat -- most tracks are less than 3 minutes in length. The album is infectious, but sans a few standout tracks, you'd be better off getting your rock and roll fix with a heavy dose of The Who, Cream, or Zeppelin.

The territory The Blue Van walks is still very green and lush. It's easy for me to hide behind this review and say rock and roll is dead and all the Denmark foursome is doing is just beating a dead horse, but I'll step outside for a minute and admit that, as much as I'd rather listen to Quadrophenia or Disraeli Gears, there's plenty of catchy riffs to keep my toes tapping to The Art of Rolling. "I Remember the Days" is full of prototypical Pete Townsend stanzas and Keith Moon interjections before fading out on an Eric Clapton guitar solo. The album's first single, "Revelation of Love," injects a little more modern pacing without abandoning the classic AM radio sound. The eight-minute album closer, "New Slough," combines the sensibilities of Roger Daltrey with the pomp of The Doors.

Through all those comparisons, there's one large missing piece -- the Blue Van aren't the Who, they aren't Cream, and they aren't the Doors. They may be great impressionists, but nobody can duplicate the energy, the sound, and the drive those classic outfits brought to the table. This is a great little rock album for the aughts, but it doesn't measure up to the lofty company the band would like to keep.

1. Word from the Bird
2. Product of DK
3. I Remember the Days
4. I Want You
5. The Remains of Sir Maison
6. Baby, I've Got Time
7. The Blueverture
8. Revelations of Love
9. Mob Rule
10. What the Young People Want
11. Coeur de Lion
12. New Slough