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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Review: Abe's Logic - War's Ragin'

Abe’s Logic – War’s Ragin’
2009, Mad Chief Records

Abe's Logic is the musical extension of Abe Vandenberg’s multiple musical personalities. The Maui, Hawaii resident is a musical chameleon who can channel Lou Reed one moment, Dave Matthews the next, and traverse several other personae in the course of a few songs. Rock, Jazz Fusion, Folk; none of these are without of his reach at a given moment, in a given song, or even on a dime. What is certain is that as a listener, if you’re not paying attention, Abe’s Logic will leave you far behind. Vandenberg is getting ready to release his latest album as Abe’s Logic, called War’s Ragin’. Whether this is social or self-commentary is up to the listener to decide.

War’s Ragin’ opens with the Ski anthem Chipping’ Away. This is the sort of song that makes you want to get up and dance and is a great start to the album. There’s a rough edge to the music on War’s Ragin’ that is appealing. It’s not garage, exactly, but it has some of that same Lo-Fi charm. Even on songs such as I Stepped Into The Shade, where Abe’s Logic layers a lot of instrumentation to build a full sound there is still an aspect to it that is rough and primitive. The Prestige is very catchy; a bit frenetic. Vandeberg occasionally reminds me of the same urgent energy that drove some of the early They Might Be Giants recordings on War’s Ragin’. That nervous momentum is very apparent on The Prestige.

War’s Ragin’ is a delicious heartland-style rocker with big, jangly guitars and a chorus you can’t help but hum along to. The theme is the ease with which we can wrap ourselves in our loves and forget about what’s going on in the world at large. War’s Ragin’ is a song with strong commercial potential. It’s Not Just Me is written in much the same fashion and is quite catchy but doesn’t have quite the same oomph as War’s Ragin’. What We Crave develops a bit further into an interesting modal vocal harmony structure with that same heartland feel, taking a band like The Bears and adding Devo-esque harmonies into the mix. The sound stays fairly consistent through That Was Safe, with Abe’s Logic saving the curveball for All Of A Sudden, which sounds a bit like REM crashed the Abe’s Logic party. Abe’s Logic corrects course and gets back to the feel-good rock with moderate to serious themes on I Want It To Stay, which sounds like it would be a fantastic tune live.

Abe’s Logic offers up some classic American Rock N Roll with a hint of garage chic on War’s Ragin’. It's is one of those albums you walk away from more impressed by the sound than anything else, but Vandenberg is quite capable with a guitar in his hands, and has a strong, clear singing voice that is a pleasure to listen to. Lyrically interesting and intelligent, the somewhat darker elements of the narrative can get crowded out by the big, loud, jangly sound, but it’s a fun listen.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Abe’s Logic at or War’s Ragin’ is due for a late spring/early summer release. Keep checking Abe’s Logic’s website for details.

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