Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wino: Adrift (2010)


Scott "Wino" Weinrich is legendary for his contributions as a vocalist in such doom metal bands as Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, and others. But while his influence in that realm is unquestionable, he may have missed his calling.

I have to put this out in the open: Adrift is not a metal album. Here, Wino plays the singer-songwriter. I've long been a fan of hard rock and metal vocalists who can pull of the acoustic thing. Alice in Chains was an early favorite, while Dax Riggs is a more recent one. But Korn failed miserably. With no wall of sound to drown the voices out, there is no safety net. But Wino really pulls it off.

His voice is husky, and reminds me in a lot of ways of Johnny Cash. No, it's not nearly as deep, and doesn't really sound like Cash in any kind of objective, scientific sense. But like the legendary country singer, Wino's voice has improved with age. It's not about range, but about the tough-to-pin-down qualities of gravity and dignity. There's also a lot of pain in there, but it's tempered with the maturity to handle it. Most of the time, it's just his voice out there in front, but there are a couple times it's harmonized (it seems to be his voice layered over itself, but may be backup vocalists).

The music is almost entirely acoustic, although some of the solos are electric (the way the country musicians do electric solos). There is an acoustic/electric rhythm to "Mala Suerte", and "O.B.E." is mostly a synth-based song not too unlike some Steve Miller moments. Overall, the songwriting has a hint of Bob Seger's more downbeat tunes, combining rock and country admirably.

Some of the more interesting cuts are the title track, the Motörhead and Savoy Brown covers, and closer "Green Speed". The latter combines a faster acoustic rhythm with some psychedelic-sounding electric guitar leads, a perfect way to round out this (ironically) sobering album.

The Verdict: Wino pulls off the acoustic album very well, combining a storyteller's credibility, an experienced man's dignity and maturity, and a great songwriter's instinct. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. I love Scott Wino, but I haven't been keeping up with new releases that well so I was unaware of this record's existence until now. Thank you.