Giving us as much physicality as he is a harmonic backbone from top to bottom, Alex Lopez sounds completely content with the groove in his song “Spanish Blues,” one of the brightest stars from his new album Looking for a Change this September. There’s plenty of pickup in his attack, but at the same time, he never sounds particularly aggressive when he’s marrying beats to melodies in the mix. Instead, he’s always got a bit of swagger behind his step, nudging the hook forward and encouraging us to embrace the easy sway of the music as much we would the grooves he’s delivering to us so plaintively. In songs like this one, “Tell Me,” and “Wild as the Wind,” he doesn’t sound like an underground star, but a mainstream player simply removed from the commercialism in modern blues.
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Rhythm guides the narratives in “Blues They Rock,” “Whiskey Covered Woman,” the title cut, and “Spanish Blues,” but this isn’t to say that any of these songs are lacking in melodic substance. There’s a lot of charm to the harmonies in all four of these tracks, and really throughout all of Looking for a Change, but I love how Lopez can offset conventional rock components with a high-spirited rhythm when he wants to. He isn’t limiting himself just for the sake of creating something fluid in this record; he’s giving us as much of his soul through the intricacies of the music as he can, stopping well short of overstating any one specific theme.
Alex Lopez isn’t the only fierce force to be reckoned with in Looking for a Change, and songs like “Train” and “Night Closing In” prove as much. His backing band brings the thunder whether the tempo is slow or a little pushier, and the chemistry that exists between frontman and featured players doesn’t sound synthetic or forced by way of finance at all. There’s nothing quite like musicians getting on the same page and producing something centrally expressive, and while this is indeed a solo musician-driven effort, it goes without saying that this artist gets a lot of help in telling the stories he wants to share in every one of the songs in this tracklist. Everything revolves around the personality of our main man, without devolving into egomaniacal territories a lot of other bluesmen exist in.
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I just got into the music of Mr. Alex Lopez a while ago, but based on what I have learned about him from listening to Looking for a Change, his is a brand of rock player that the genre needs a lot more of in 2023 and the future. He isn’t self-absorbed like some of his peers; he’s got the makings of a classic troubadour but with an affinity for volume that you don’t find in a lot of blues artists anymore. Everyone has been talking about blues-rock seeing a big comeback in the next couple of years, and I think that if it’s ever going to happen, it’s going to be led by performers like Alex Lopez and the underground movement they’re inspiring around the world.