3 Minutes to Midnight
2017 / Infinita Records
Review by Michael Debbage
Representing his sixth release of all new material the title 3 Minutes to Midnight has a sense of urgency that is represented not only in the feel and tempo of the album but also its duration. Rollins prior albums typically slow burned over an impressive 60 to 70 minutes of pleasure displaying several different shades and moods. However on 3 Minutes to Midnight you will quickly discover a sense immediacy and directness with this 42 minute recording jammed with what might be Rollins most melodic recording to date.
With Rollins' usual suspects participating from producer Dominic Camardella to his memorable merry men of musicians the emphatic twelve tracks all clock in at less than 4 minutes. That said each composition is concise and straight to the point resulting in a very direct songwriting mentality. And while there is some variety in shades and moods for the most 3 Minutes to Midnight is shaken not stirred sensational not subtle. This can be found in the almost frantic “Time Shift” with similar results found on “Driving Force”. In fact the opening title track sets the entire mood of the album with its toe tapping hooks that are followed up with the handclapping rhythmic “Light The Way” that may be his most melodic recording to date.
This is not to say that 3 Minutes to Midnight lacks subtle or reflective moods but there is a little less variety than his past recordings. Nevertheless the more insightful moments can be found courtesy of the mid tempo “Island Time” and the slow churning closer “Mary’s Rock”. But even here there is a sense of capturing the audience attention immediately with its accessible built in melodies.
Closing in on a decade of recordings Lawson Rollins continues to keep his listening audience alert. Always finding a different way to express himself he does it with such subtle skill that he does not lose his faithful followers who know they are always in for a surprise. Like opening an English cracker at Christmas you just never know what kind of toy surprise and colorful party hat you might be find inside. That said get ready to be in a party mood because Rollins is ready to have your feet tapping and your body swaying to his most urgent recording to date.
February 19, 2017