THE BLACK CROWES – Happiness Bastards (2024) *HQ*

THE BLACK CROWES - Happiness Bastards (2024) *HQ* - full

Fortunately, THE BLACK CROWES are leaving the bullshit in the past. 15 years after their last album of original music, the Robinson Brothers present “Happiness Bastards” – their 10th studio album. Some may say the project has been several tumultuous years in the making, but we argue it’s arriving at just the right time.
Call it brotherly love or music destiny that brought them back together, the highly anticipated record consecrating the reunion of this legendary band just may be the thing that saves rock & roll.
In a time where the art form is buried beneath the corporate sheen of its successors, The Black Crowes are biting back with the angst of words left unsaid penned on paper and electrified by guitar strings, revealing stripped, bare-boned rock & roll. No gloss, no glitter, just rhythm and blues at it’s very best – gritty, loud, and in your face.
THE BLACK CROWES rediscovered their Southern Harmony on ”Happiness Bastards”, and that’s great.

So much has been made of Chris and Rich Robinson’s public spats over the past couple of decades that it’s easy to forget that the Black Crowes were once among rock’s greatest revivalist bands. Their bluesy swagger and strutting riffs drew comparisons to Faces and peak period Rolling Stones; at their best, the Black Crowes reminded fans that before indie and before grunge, there was simply rock ‘n’ roll.
The last time the Black Crowes recorded an album of new songs in a studio was 2008’s Warpaint; since then they’ve released several live records.

With Happiness Bastards, the Robinson brothers lead a revamped lineup (only bassist Sven Pipien’s tenure with the group goes back more than five years) through 10 new tracks that simultaneously unpack the baggage that led to their 2015 split and celebrate the four decades since they formed in Atlanta as Mr. Crowe’s Garden.
While it doesn’t quite repeat the loose and playful energy of band milestones Shake Your Money Maker (1990) and The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (1992), there’s a casual re-ignition of purpose to ”Happiness Bastards”.
From the start, when Rich’s dirty guitar kicks into the opening song “Bedside Manners,” the Black Crowes revisit the ’70s markers found in their most satisfying records: slide guitar, Stones-y keys, heavy organ.

It doesn’t stop there. Decade touchstones from the Allmans to Zeppelin are recalled at other points on the album.
Lyrically, it’s thin – “Do you want some, baby? / … Your touch gives me such a thrill,” Chris sings in “Rats and Clowns” – but Happiness Bastards is rarely short on riffs and rousing performances (check out the molten “Flesh Wound”).
The best song, “Wanting and Waiting,” may sound like a rewrite of the Black Crowes’ debut single “Jealous Again,” but there’s reassurance in their passion, which hasn’t softened much over three and a half decades.
It’s good to have them back.
Highly Recommended


01 – Bedside Manners
02 – Rats and Clowns
03 – Cross Your Fingers
04 – Wanting and Waiting
05 – Wilted Rose (feat. Lainey Wilson)
06 – Dirty Cold Sun
07 – Bleed It Dry
08 – Flesh Wound
09 – Follow the Moon
10 – Kindred Friend

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1 Response

  1. Jason says:

    Thnx for this

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