The Blue Stones - Hidden Gems reviewed: Canadian blues-rock duo get adventurous

Photo: Sameer Jafar

Words: Eline Joling

Lead single 'Shakin’ Off The Rust’ fits right at home with the blues-rock sound we’ve come to expect from Canadian duo The Blue Stones, but songs like ‘Careless’ and ‘Make This Easy’ on their second record, 'Hidden Gems', see the band turn a corner and leave distorted guitars behind for smooth, laidback beats.

Building on their debut, vocalist-and-guitarist Tarek Jafar and drummer Justin Tessier take a new approach to their songwriting on the follow-up to 2018's 'Black Holes'.

Previously, Jafar would write the lyrics to assist the melodies, but working with studio wizard Paul Meany (Twenty One Pilots, LANY), the duo were inspired to put more emphasis on the narrative and it has paid off.

Let It Ride’ explores the duality of having an appetite for adventure while also longing for security, while moody ‘Grim’ sees Jafar take a darker look into his vices before building up to an increasingly bigger instrumental outro.

Layered with fuzzy guitars ripping through driving drumbeats, 'Hidden Gems, resonates with a powerful intensity but doesn't alienate fans of their previous works.

Rating: 7.5/10

Release date: 19/03/2021