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Posted on September 29th, 2010 (11:38 am) by Bradley Hartsell

Dax Riggs has been a fixture in the gritty rock scene since the ‘90s, playing a little of everything in his time, from punk to sludge to hardcore. This is Riggs’ second release under his own name, which finds him using a wide palette to accommodate a cohesive album.

Say Goodnight to the World shows Riggs playing around with the blues, southern rock, and post-grunge. He isn’t in the wave of lo-fi musicians, but Riggs likes distortion and coarse sound, laying down heavy on guitar riffs, but always knowing where his hooks are and never flying so far off the rails into a heavy sound that he loses his ability to drive home a chorus. Say Goodnight features a couple of ballads, including the brilliantly titled closer, “See You All in Hell or New Orleans”, to break up the burners. “Say Goodnight to the World” opens with a bluesy rock number that carries a Southern touch. Indie rock doesn’t often dabble in music with that ‘70s feel, but Riggs displays it confidently with strong hooks and poignant riffs. “I Hear Satan” follows it, another awesome song title, with Riggs’ grungy sound, mixed with some more Southern hints. The song is a slow-tempo jam—a steady toe-tapper. And the “I hear Satan” hook is ridiculously good. “You Were Born to be My Gallows” keeps that steady toe-tap beat going, but Riggs goes to a lighter, wispier vocal performance. The song is solid but doesn’t hit with the same force as the first two. There’s more of that Southern grunge before “Like Moonlight” carries you away as a great ballad with a dark, descending melody and wandering guitar reverb.

“No One Will Be a Stranger” finds the first post-grunge groove on the album, leaving behind all of the Southern traces. The song punches an up-tempo rhythm and a Layne Staley-esque vocal performance, melody and all. In Say Goodnight, Riggs allows a tempo to totally make a song. When he wants a slower song to appear, everything plays in slow motion, giving it a classic but unique sound. “Sleeping with the Witch” is another song similar to “Gallows”, where that Southern blues/grunge rock gets a little too dry. Riggs doesn’t drive the song quite as hard as he should, getting a little too caught in the middle of making it a grungy, slow burning ballad.

“Let Me Be Your Cigarette” is the most straightforward grunge song on the album, sounding like Alice in Chains, with pretty solid results. The aforementioned closer enlists more of the slow-motion tempo, going out with a dark blues number that closes out the album in a fine fashion. The song focuses on a wispy outro, with howling voices and drawn out guitar picks.

Dax Riggs brings not only the nostalgia of rock scenes now dead, but legitimately great songs as well. Dax doesn’t break new ground but he does venture into another very enjoyable aspect--eliciting memories without ripping off something already established. Riggs also throws in his own take on the old scenes by throwing in a little touch of blues and Southern feelings of the ‘70s. There are a few throwaway songs that are neither bad nor very impacting, but overall, Riggs has a surprisingly rewarding album on his hands, particularly because you won’t hear anything else like this right now, or at least not anything this well done. It seems like all I’m hearing nowadays is some electro-dance record or chillwave or lo-fi, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; there’s always going to be prevalent styles. It’s just refreshing to hear something totally different--even if it means digging up ghosts from music’s past.

Track List:
1. Say Goodnight to the World
2. I Hear Satan
3. You Were Born to be My Gallows
4. Gravedirt on my Blue Suede Shoes
5. Like Moonlight
6. No One Will Be a Stranger
7. Heartbreak Hotel
8. Sleeping with the Witch
9. Let Me Be Your Cigarette
10. See You All In Hell or New Orleans

Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

78 / 100
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