REVIEW: Ike Reilly’s “Crooked Love” is Chicago Blues Swamp Rock


Ike Reilly’s seventh studio album, Crooked Love (Rock Ridge Music), finds the native Illinoisan and his band brewing up a mix of Chicago blues and Southern swamp rock into a batch of songs, with titles including “Been Let Down” and “To Die In Her Arms,” meant to reach defeated lovers.

The concept of “good love gone too long and all wrong” creeps up in “A Long Dreadful Time.” Lyrical twists like “not fitting the life you’re in” (“Livin’ In The Wrong Time”) and “singin’ covers as a penance” (“Been Let Down”) remind listeners that feelings of displacement and isolation are not relegated to the youth alone.  “Took It Lying Down”, with its 70’s Springsteen groove and a mention of “lust/not disgust,” portray a man aging and jaded, yet trying to stay decent. “She Haunts My Hideouts” plays with the image of (virtual) self-immolation via steel wool, kerosene and assorted toxic vices. But none too seriously.  And the lyrical and topical standout, “Boltcutter Again,” addresses the travel ban with clever Middle Eastern puns and portrays an old-school caper in Trump’s America – “When your dreams get stole/you gotta steal ‘em back.”

Joining Reilly in the studio and on the album is a crack team of musicians: Phil Karnats (guitar), Peter Cimbalo (bass, percussion), Dave Cottini (drums, percussion, vocals), and Adam Krier (guitar, keyboards, vocals). Reilly and Karnats co-produced the album at Kill City Studios in Illinois. Although the songs were largely recorded in a full-band setting, the flawless – almost too flawless – production still only hints at the amazing live experience found in an Ike Reilly live show. The listener can look forward to seeing this fantastic collection of songs fleshed out in loud, sweaty clubs across America as the summer heats up.  Listen for yourself and get your copy, here.

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