There’s something special about music that sheds the shackles of life and hits various emotions head on. It takes over the senses and it gives an art form that the listener can relate to. With his second solo record, Dedication Songs, released on January 8 via Megahex Records, Gray Bouchard from Boston garage punks Salem Wolves masters these qualities. Much like his band, Bouchard puts on an intense display of amplified tones. What separates him is his placing of energy in a different place with each song.
Tracks like “You’re No Better” and “Nothing From Nothing” are anthems that convey a contagious feeling of rejoice and triumph. There are groovy jams like “Chasing After Honey” and “Small Houses” along with psychological odes like “Losing It” and “Applause” providing different elements of Bouchard’s songwriting. Everything on the album is electrifying while each song varies in levels and tiers of it. An abundance of variety defeats the enemy of boringness. Bouchard doing the musical equivalent of blood on canvas is also noticeable.
What makes the album complete is Erik Von Geidern and Don Schweihofer’s skills on the production side of things. The quality from start to finish is pristine and no dimension goes overlooked. It’s clear to the ears and there isn’t an overload of noise. Dedication Songs embodies what it takes to be a great rock & roll album. The blend of fervor, honesty and emphasis is what makes the genre timeless.
Bouchard is one of the many reasons why the music scene in New England is absolutely magnificent. He’s an incredible talent who is as original and individualistic as they come. Dedication Songs is a stellar example of what he can do with a microphone in his face and a guitar in his hand. It’s an album that’ll have the senses hooked. Once you press play, you’ll find out why.