Blues Traveler: Suzie Cracks The Whip

New Jersey blues rockers go mainstream.

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Eleventh album, against the odds, from weathered jam band pioneers. So what do they do? Bring in songwriters, Gym Class Heroes’ producing duo (S*A*M and Sluggo) and an American Idol finalist. Hmm...

Squeaky-clean production rules, and clichés roll out like there’s no tomorrow: frontman John Popper heaves and yee-haws ‘tonight I’ll be your man’, ‘I wanna hold your hand’ and some stuff about looking for puzzle pieces. At least there’s some salvation, with the likes of Devil In The Details unleashing redeeming, gravely vocals plus a welcome dose of free-spirited, jamming style.

Similarly, Things Are Looking Up channels the satisfying soloing and guttural urgency one would associate with such a seasoned group cultivated in rugged southern blues-rock spheres. Too bad this isn’t sustained, as Love Is Everything affirms: more dozy cowboys gently farting around a campfire than rodeo riding. Harmless, but thin.

Polly Glass
Deputy Editor, Classic Rock

Polly is deputy editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she writes and commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage), and has interviewed rock's biggest and newest names. She also contributes to Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. Elsewhere she's had work published in The Musician, delicious. magazine and others, and written biographies for various album campaigns. In a previous life as a women's magazine junior she interviewed Tracey Emin and Lily James – and wangled Rival Sons into the arts pages. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.