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Rock duo Blue Stones dazzle on “Hidden Gems”

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Rock music is making its way back to the mainstream again. Artists have been slowly pushing towards catchy riffs, strong drums and an infectious bass to get you blood pumping. In a post pandemic world, it makes sense that artists are letting loose and experimenting more with their sound.

The Blue Stones are no different. Originating from Detroit, MI, the two-piece band got exposed first with their grungy sound crossed with a familiar pop influence. Their first studio album, “Black Holes,” set them on a track to follow in the footsteps of legendary Akron-based duo The Black Keys, but their sophomore album “Hidden Gems” aligns them more with the smooth sounds of Young the Giant. 

The album starts off strong with “Lights On.” A classic Blue Stones track, the song follows through with traditional rock instrumentation. As the album progresses, though, we hear more synth keys and drum tracks iconic of the 21st century.

“Careless” is a loose-playing track that suspends the listener in lush synths and a de-emphasized percussion section. Tracks like “Grim” and “Let It Ride,” meanwhile, really drive home their roots in rock, but that is not the aim of this album. Staying true to the album title, the vibe of this album really feels like a collection of B-side songs their record company wouldn’t let them release. 

The album finishes strong with “Oceans,” a song with a decidedly more pop-rock sound pushing them into their own category, more than they already were. 

After seeing The Blue Stones live at the festival LaureLive! in 2019, this album comes as a fresh surprise for me. The most impressive thing about this group is just how much they can accomplish with just the two of them on stage. 

And as a band with less than a million monthly listeners on Spotify, an album named “Hidden Gems” is aptly titled for such talented musicians.  

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