To put it quite mildly, Alex Lopez is starting hard and sticking with a consistent rhythm in the paralyzing “Night Closing In,” one of my favorite songs on the new album Looking for a Change. Although one of the more pronounced works in the tracklist, “Night Closing In” embodies much of the emotional weight you can expect to encounter throughout Looking for a Change, which is a lot more personal an effort than anything Lopez has recorded previously. This is a punishingly honest piece and one that’s hard to put down once you pick it up.
I love the unspoiled sway of the rhythm in “Spanish Blues” and the pushier “Train,” and I think it’s through moderate accents like the tempo or tone of a performance in Looking for a Change that we’re able to appreciate the authenticity of the emotions Lopez is putting on the line for us. He’s got a lot that he’s getting off of his chest here, both observational and introspective, but he doesn’t sound overextended in his expression at any point in time between track one and ten.
It would be amazing to hear “Wild as the Wind,” “Blues They Rock,” “Tell Me” and this cut of “Politician” live and in person sometime, mostly because I think these particular songs might sound even more full-bodied if given the space on stage to breathe, almost like a fine wine. There’s something all the more powerful that comes from bringing a smart arrangement directly to the audience it was crafted for, and while not leaving anything to be desired cosmetically, the substance of Looking for a Change feels like a template for what is certain to be a great concert setlist.
There’s just no getting away from the heart Alex Lopez is hurling at the listeners in “Whiskey Covered Woman,” the title track, and “She,” and I really cannot imagine anyone wanting to. In an age that has been rewarding the removed blues singer/songwriter who doesn’t have any real intimate connection with the medium they’re shaping, this is a degree of unfiltered intimacy that I could get used to – if not outright addicted to in the right circumstances. Looking for a Change is straight-up with us, and that alone makes it unique this autumn.
You can’t ignore a player who has the kind of talent that Lopez does no matter what kind of a project he’s working on, and this record is easily a piece that sees him evolving away from the format he’s enjoyed in the past toward something far larger than life than the status quo calls for. Alex Lopez’s Looking for a Change is a deadly, decadent work of bruising guitar play and blunt storytelling, and I think it’s going to be viewed as one of the better LPs of its kind to arrive anywhere in the world of indie rock this year. As a concept piece and something that has come with a lot of buzz ahead of its release this October, something tells me we’re going to be hearing a lot of this LP’s best songs well into next year.