ALBERTA & THE DEAD EYES, "Mhm"
The vibe of Alberta & The Dead Eyes – a Detroit based collective created around the edgy and raw, gritty yet ethereal music of David A. Boone – has been described as everything from alternative to dark-folk. In a recent interview for the University of Georgia’s The Red & Black, the singer/songwriter affirms that he thinks of himself “as a bluesman, but I can see why not everyone would agree with that. They’re blues songs even though they might not come across very bluesy every single time.”
For a nostalgic frame of reference, your eager ears may hear a little of The Beatles’ “Yer Blues” (with a bit less distortion) on Alberta’s latest gem, the single “Mhm,” which follows in the whimsical tradition of their 2018 album with an equally questionable pronounced title “mmmmm.” As raw and coolly inviting as his soul and sandpaper vocals are – and as loud and crisp as his electric guitar gets in just the right emotional spots – the focus is all on the hypnotic and methodical yet intensely booming rhythm section driven by Michael Snyder’s standup bass line and Erik “nuntheless” Washington’s drums.
Boone pegs it right when he says he’s in conversation with Bhuti, but the drums are “sitting right where they should be with space and articulation and little glimmers of color.” While the musical elements shade from darkness to light with equal amounts of blister and Bunsen burner low key flame, the stream of consciousness lyrics are fascinating in that they can be interpreted as a bitter but resigned relationship post-mortem monologue directed at the loved one or a stop and start filled inner dialogue rehearsal for such better left to edit before it comes out of his mouth.
Like the music underlying it, it’s angular poetry that’s rough, full of sighs and pain: “What’s that you said? I can’t hear you if I’m not listening. . .Ok, I see. Ain’t none knowledge of the real thing. Yeah must be nice . . .no use re-hashing all the has beens. Excuse me—” et al. No matter how emotional, most song lyrics are usually neatly polished, so it’s refreshing – if a bit unsettling – to experience the way Boone aka Alberta gets everything off his chest.