CD Review of The Art of Rolling by The Blue Van

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The Art of Rolling
starstarstarhalf starno star Label: TVT
Released: 2005
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Emerging from a small town in Northern Denmark, The Blue Van took its name from a song by an old Danish band, Steppeulvene. The moniker is also the nickname for the vehicle that the Danes use to collect their mentally ill. While their dry wit may be lost on some, the group’s music more than makes up for it. In an age where many bands are cribbing riffs from the ‘80s, the Blue Van loves ‘60s dirty blues-rock; their obvious influences are the Stones, the Kinks and the Doors. With a Hammond organ, tube amps and swaggering hooks throughout, The Art of Rolling is a solid debut from start to finish.

“Revelation of Love” might be the album’s most accessible track, and if I squint hard enough, I can see it getting airplay on modern rock stations across the country. “Product of DK” is a rousing jam, with the aforementioned organ and an occasional “yeah, yeah!” thrown in with good success. But the group isn’t all fast beats and hand claps. They show some versatility on the ballad-ish “Baby, I’ve Got Time,” and it’s the only track on the disc where frontman Steffen Westmark’s vocals can be heard distinctly. But maybe the best evidence of the group’s creative potential is “The Bluverture,” an instrumental that features someone whistling against an organ and drums. It’s very odd to hear this in the middle of a rock album, but somehow the group makes it work.

Rolling is a bit reminiscent of the Kings of Leon debut, Youth & Young Manhood, not so much in the style or type of music, but in the fact that it’s chock full of good songs with no overt radio-friendly single to be found. This means that, like the Kings, the Blue Van will probably live in relative obscurity in the U.S. until word of their talent spreads far and wide enough to develop a substantial following. Unless you are a fan of ‘60s blues-rock, The Art of Rolling probably won’t blow you away on first listen. But if you like big beats and bodacious hooks – take a ride with the Blue Van.

~John Paulsen