Almost every great blues album unpacks a lot of emotions inside of its tracklist, and in this way, Steve Junot and the Infamous’ Last Shot is no different than most of its historical brethren. Where Junot sets himself apart in this record isn’t in his approach, but in his means of expression – in songs like “In the Morning,” the verses are only telling us half of the story.
The other half is told through the conflicted grooves, soulful strings and smoky melodies that dot the landscape of this sprawling sonic effort as well as those in “Love is Like a Hurricane,” “God Can’t Help Me” and “God Can’t Help Me.” In Last Shot, we find a man possessed by his love for everything blues, and if you’ve grown up with the genre’s most iconic sounds in the background, you’re going to think exactly what I did about its ten addictive songs. Steve Junot has outdone himself with this new LP, which is helping to seize a lot of the spotlight that has evaded his scene’s output in the past.
Last Shot has the feel of a detailed stage play in that it’s broken into three distinct acts. The first, consisting of the playful “Wait,” a tempting work in the intriguingly sharp “Juice Ain’t Worth the Squeeze,” and the heartland rock-esque “Neutral Ground,” is the most free-spirited of the three, giving itself over to an almost countrified sway more often than it does an old school blues groove. Act two gets started with “God Can’t Help Me” and the stomp of its blunt beats, segues to the jittery “Won’t Be That Bad to You” and finally picks up the pieces with a mischievous piece in the form of “Love is Like a Hurricane,” and its evil twin, the fun-loving “Ain’t Got to Be So Crazy.” Steve Junot finally lets his hair down in the third act with the cathartic “In the Morning,” the rather obtuse “Love is Like a Hurricane,” and a lovely duet in “My Home,” but it isn’t until the epilogue of “She Only Loves Me When She’s Drunk” that the full weight of the last nine songs begins to sink in.
The rigidity of the rhythm in this record forces us to engage with its most primeval of passions much like a free jazz LP would, and while it takes a few listens to fully grasp the depth of Last Shot’s best jams, it’s a hard album to ignore once you’ve come to understand its genius. I doubt that Steve Junot and the Infamous are going to win over every critic with this release, but for what I desire in a blues record, this is a ten-out-of-ten affair that was seemingly tailor-made for connoisseurs of the genre. If I were a gambling man, I’d wager a lot on this being a sneak preview of what we’re going to be hearing a lot more of in the 2020s from Junot, but if this were to be his only studio recording with the Infamous, it would probably rank among the very best out of his scene in recent memory.