From the guitar crunch midway through its soulful opener, “Demon Tied To A Chair In My Brain,” We Sing Of Only Blood Or Love is laid plain. With deadboy and the Elephantmen disbanded —though several former musicians from the group appear—Dax Riggs’ first proper solo record finds him working with similar themes, but with a much cleaner, more polished sound that emulates his pop idols.
Indeed, there’s not a track on We Sing that breaks the three minute mark. Don’t dismay—it’s not a record of radio singles, but this is among the brightest, catchiest material of his career. As bright as Riggs’ world gets, at least. Producer Matt Sweeney, who contributes a lot of guitar work to the record, is a likely culprit for the change, but Dax is obviously enjoying it.
The fifteen tracks are essentially rock through Dax’s soul lens, akin to Van Morrison’s brand of folk. In fact, he channels the shaman on “The Terrors Of The Nightlife” well. He’s usually at his best with a strong blues riff swinging around him—residue from his origins in Acid Bath—and tracks like “Radiation Blues” and “Didn’t Know Yet What I’d Know When I Was Bleeding” show it. But straighter, high-tempo cuts (“Truth In The Dark,” “Forgot I Was Alive”) are formidable swaths of pop.
Remaining singular in so many styles across the forty or so minutes of We Sing is an unqualified feat in itself, and this debut solo LP is an un-trodden avenue in Dax’s ever-expanding repertoire.