From page 79 of Classic Rock Magazine October 2003
It seems like the boys of Americana are sick of rootsy introspection. Neal Casal has started a funk/rock group (Hazy Malaze) and Josh Rouse has released ‘1972’. That album is an attempt to capture the sound of the year in which Rouse was born.
The sound is that of the Brill Building’s three-minute pop tricks, and the blue- eyed soul and funk of Steely Dan and Bob James. ‘Sparrows Over Birmingham’ has the hushed spooky edge of The Beach Boys’ ‘Sloop John B’, enhanced by the vocal talents of The Blind Boys Of Alabama, and ‘Rise’ has the same university-educated take on the blue- collar genius of Springsteen as Badly Drawn Boy. The album’s high point is reached with ‘Slaveship’ with its gospel- led, lip-smacking, early 70s Stones flavour. Rouse’s vignette and character- based lyrics are always diverting, if not compelling, and ‘1972’ is no exception – expect to hear about paraplegics, drunks and repressed homosexuals.
Perfect for a bit of soulful, country- tinged pop to act as the soundtrack to your drive down to Asda, ‘1972’ might float your boat but it isn’t going to rock your world.
★★★ ★★ Mark Norton