September 23, 2023

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Review: Alex Lopez ‘Nasty Crime’

Alex Lopez, Nasty Crime, album cover

Alex Lopez

By Mike O’Cull

Florida-based singer, songwriter, and guitarist Alex Lopez proves himself to be a multifaceted gem on his new record Nasty Crime.

The album spanks the sidewalk August 12th, 2022 on the Maremil imprint and demonstrates Lopez’s unique stylistic blend of rocking blues, jazz-tinged soul, emotive pop, and kinetic swing. He’s an excellent singer with a voice that’s high and clear and a strong guitar player with a knack for syncopated riffs and lush chordal work. Lopez is backed up on Nasty Crime by his longtime band The Xpress, which is made up of Kenny Hoye on keyboards, Steve Roberts on bass, and Kana Leimbach on drums. He co-produced the record with George Harris (Cheap Trick, Rick Derringer, Brian Johnson of AC/DC) and the pair did an outstanding job of capturing the sound of a tight, seasoned band putting it all on the line.

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Alex Lopez began his musical life on keyboards before being drawn to the guitar by British blues/rock bands and players including Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix. College got him to Florida and he spent his time there fronting the popular rock band Reminiscion before breaking out as a solo performer. He released his first album, Back Bedroom Blues, in 2013 and made his presence known as a hot-handed blues guitarist and singer-songwriter. Since that time, Lopez has been on a steady upward climb into the international blues community and released Rising Up in 2021. Nasty Crime is his sixth record as a leader.

The album starts by taking aim at the problems of modern life with the Zeppelin-esque “World On Fire.” It’s a big riff, guitar-and-organ track with killer vocals, cool slide guitar, and tough-talking lyrics. “When you follow the news it really seems that the world is on fire on many levels and that sometimes we let greed and arrogance overpower kindness and common sense,” Lopez says. He delivers this message in bold strokes while also making his guitar do its thing loud and proud. His vocal tone is striking, cutting through the mix and maintaining its own space with ease. Overall, it’s a cool, inventive song that’s going to turn a lot of listeners on.

Watch “World On Fire”

“Just Wait” uses a tense, driving beat to power an up-tempo, minor key blues/rocker topped with another mighty vocal performance. Lopez excels at channeling a sense of urgency into his lyrics and his delivery is pure rock and roll. His band pushes him and the song forward at an almost-breakneck pace but keep the arrangement just shy of the boiling point. It feels as good as it sounds, without a doubt.

Lopez indulges in a heap of swinging blues on the sweet and sophisticated “When The Sun Goes Down.” He and the band play and sing with a lot of tonal color here to give the song more of an uptown feel than some of the more rock-influenced material presented on this fine set. Fans who dig the old-school ways will like dancing to Alex’s joyous rhythms.

Lopez gets back to the harder stuff on his title cut “Nasty Crime.” It’s an edgy funk/rock song with a groove made to move large crowds and interesting chord changes that help it keep the pressure on. Lopez and his band work especially well together on this one and create a big-league contemporary sound. Other high points on Nasty Crime are “See The Light” and the acoustic ballad “The First Time.” Alex Lopez does many things quite well on his new record and fans of hip, modern blues music need to hear them all for themselves. Highly recommended.

Alex Lopez website 

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