The fifth studio album from Detroit rockers The Sights starts exactly the way you’d expect it to – earth shaking & electrifying. Left Over Right displays their take-no-prisoners style of rock n’ roll and blends British-style rock with the quintessential sounds of the Motor City. The result is enthralling and best enjoyed LOUD! When I saw this band back in 2003 (for the first time), they played so intensely that the paint was literally peeling from the walls. It was of such pure sonic quality, that it actually sounded better as they became louder! I’m sure that The Sights Army would agree with me…
If you’re not familiar with their discography, please start with their self-titled album The Sights. Songs from this particular record have been featured on major motion pictures such as “Just Friends” and “Wedding Crashers”.
The Sights have been touring non-stop this summer opening for the likes of Jack Black and Tenacious D. Eddie Baranek (leader of the The Sights) and Jack Black are brothers cut from the same cloth in that they are both involved (at one time or another) in the School of Rock.
Their latest album, Left Over Right opens with a fierce and frenetic track possessing the same name as the album. Lush background harmonies frolic around the verse and chorus creating a robust, atmospheric quality to this track. Eddie Baranek seems to reflect on past experiences and emotions he felt as a young man trying to fit into the scene. He symbolically describes a new phase in life, one that he embraces with confidence and pride: “In my rear view mirror / are all my peers / broken promises and tears / the end is near”. He doesn’t reminisce very long and by the end of the song, the singer is peeling out in a 500HP Chevy Corvette leaving his past in a wake of smoke and exhaust.
“Fool” starts out with Eddie Baranek pining away on a distorted and feedback induced harmonica solo. The horn section chimes in and fattens up the chorus as Eddie wails “I can’t stop making out with you”. The dynamics shift on a dime from a confessional whisper, to blaring horns and explosive drumming – all the while maintaining control and deliberateness.
“Mercy” literally “brings you to your knees” on the fourth track – providing no respite to the guitar and piano driven onslaught. “Bad Man” brings the mood to a reflective state – and shows a more serene and introspective side of Baranek. Various piano sounds swirl around the listeners head during the bridge, while the guitars pan from the left to the right speaker in a clever manner. “Anything to Anyone” continues the introspective theme by showcasing the softer and melodic side of The Sights. Baranek prods and asks “that if it all went away / would you still stay?”. Dean Tartaglia adds suspense to Baranek’s question via a tasteful yet mournful saxophone solo.
“You are the Sunshine” is a cute and quirky ditty complete with whistling and goofy vocals. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a great song and all but it seems a little out of place on this album. However, I respect that Eddie “throws a bone” to the other members by occasionally featuring them on a tune or two.
“Easy Living” starts out like a gregorian chant and sets a serious and somber tone. The mood quickly changes and unfolds into a breezy, countrified gem. After picking up some steam, the tune chugs along like a coal-driven train slithering through the Smoky Mountains.
Comfortable in his own skin, Baranek clearly understands his role on this Earth. Not all of us are so lucky to know why we are here. However, Eddie confesses to the listener that “One thing’s for certain / I’m trying to be a better person” – and that’s something prophetic that the listener can take away from this record. So even though you might be on the right path, you must still strive to better yourself each and every day.
Overall I think Left Over Right is more cohesive and focused than their last record. And after this summer’s tour supporting Tenacious D, you can expect that the Sights will return to the studio with even greater tenacity than ever before. Not only has Eddie become a better songwriter over the years, but his band has consistently stepped up to the plate – elevating his vision of what rock n’ roll is really about.