Gary Clark Jr.
Blak and Blu - WARNER
FILTER Grade: 85%
By Daniel Kohn on November 2, 2012
Since the release of his acclaimed EP, Gary Clark Jr. has attracted the attentive ear of fellow musicians and listeners alike, and rightfully so. With a guitar style that fuses elements of Delta blues, classic R & B and garage rock, the Austin native fulfills the heavy burden of expectation on his highly anticipated debut. The bluesy, Hendrixian “When My Train Pulls In” features a guitar that oozes crunch and wail, while Clark’s able to seamlessly transition into the soul-soaked title track without anything feeling out of place. He’s at his best when he lets loose on guitar, like on the drone-y “Numb” and the psychedelic “Third Stone From the Sun/If You Love Me Like You Say,” but falters a bit into Boresville on slower nü-blues numbers like “Bright Lights.” Sometimes an album that ambitiously fuses different genres signals a lack of focus, but not here. Blak & Blu proves that an outstanding talent isn’t predicated on having a signature song, and that the 28-year-old is worthy of the hype thrown his way.