Zach Bolen – 1001

When I put 1001 on, I didn’t give a second thought to Zach Bolen’s previous endeavors. I liked Citizens/Citizens & Saints, but I was never a “huge” fan, and so I didn’t want that to cloud my experience with Bolen’s debut solo outing.

There are moments on 1001 that I absolutely love. And other moments I feel a little indifferent towards. The album’s opening track, 95, is the gem of the record. 95 is a classic, hook driven, rock and roll song. The palm muted guitar that kicks off the track is simple, yet intriguing and makes you want that moment when the song opens up. It brings to mind classic tracks from the likes of Springsteen and Mellencamp.

After 95 I have a tough time to 1001. And it’s not because Bolen isn’t talent or that the songs are lacking. It’s just not my style and doesn’t appeal to me in the same way it might appeal to someone who is more interested in singer/songwriter acts or the Springsteen/Mellencamp side of music. But that’s just not me.

I love What They’ll Never Find, but I find myself wanting the song to take a twist that it never does. I do find the tempo change at the end of the track fascinating and unexpected. It’s not the twist I was wanting, but it’s still great and innovative. Holding You Close is a great slow jam. I love the verses and the subtle, alt-country vibe on the chorus. The riff the opens up Leave Me Alone is cool, and the way the chorus hits the first time is fantastic, busting out of nowhere.

The rest of the record strikes me as good, but unremarkable to my ears. Which again, is hard to say. Because it’s not bad. It’s a case of sensibilities not lining up. I look hook driven music. Bolen’s music is deep, alt-country infused, and personal. And it doesn’t have those hooks that grab me and instinctually draw me to the record. The super hooky tracks I love.

I give the record 4 out of 5 Stars. There’s a bunch of moments and elements I love about 1001. BUt as an overall record, it’s just not my cup of tea. But it might be yours. So give it a spin.

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