Tall Days is the up-and-coming blues-rock duo of Graham Hartke and Joe DeAngelus, both hailing from Essex County, NJ. Battling The Elements is their self-produced debut full-length. Together Hartke and DeAngelus succeed beautifully in creating a work that really showcases not only their talent, but their passion for music as well.
“If You Don’t Change” starts us off with really cool, clean, Spanish guitars and echoing lyrics but then quickly transitions into the heavy distortion of “All In My Way,” making for great contrast: A strong start to say the least.
The blues-rock influence is increasingly apparent as you listen to Battling The Elements. From the Black Keys-like sounds featured in “The Greatest” and “Break It” to the powerful harmonica in “Never Let Up (Everybody Stop No. 2),” the urge to rock out is almost impossible to resist. Similarly, “Hold On” is almost the epitome of Jack White song; with the distortion and tone you love plus some classy saxophone, it makes for arguably the best track off of the album.
Hartke also mastered a decent amount of instruments to make this record as full as it is. In addition to the saxophone and awesome harp, Hartke shreds on guitar in songs like “Smile In Your Frown (Everybody Stop No. 1)” and “The Lone Fighter,” and features great bass in both “If You Don’t Change” and its reprise. His vocals aren’t too shabby either and DeAngelus’ percussion brings it all together with some killer beats.
“It All Works Out In The End” is the finisher, and closes out an album that brings the best of the blues-rock and pop worlds together with great cohesion. I hope to hear more from these locals soon.
In A Word: Smooth