In all that I learned from my initial sit-down with the new album From the Headache to the Heartache this chilly week in October, it’s undeniable that The Confusionaires have the blues as bad as they come, but they’re not interested in making your daddy’s blues record in this latest release to bear their moniker. In From the Headache to the Heartache, the acclaimed Canadian rockabilly outfit brutishly cuts into the delta swing of “I Like Cars!,” blistering tones of “Romantic Mystery” and southern muscularity of the old fashioned “Sour Mash” like their lives depend upon the success of this LP, and in the end, the audience walks away having heard one of the easier-listening albums of its kind to debut in 2020.
There’s a lot of sizzle to the guitars in “Side Dish,” single/video combo “I Got a Heart,” “Sometimes I’m Bad” and the compositionally conservative (by comparison to its tracklist neighbors) “Crazy is Just What I Do,” but it never devolves into negative overindulgence. Truth be told, it would be difficult to find any of the distortion in this record even moderately offensive given its efficient utilization beside the vocals, crisp basslines and somewhat jazzy percussion, which was part of what attracted me to the album as a whole.
All of the material featured in From the Headache to the Heartache plays out smoothly and cohesively, and personally, I think it’s one of the tougher rockabilly/blues crossovers to put down once it’s been picked up and played for the very first time. One track flows into the next seamlessly, and between “I Ain’t Goin’ Home With You” and “Look At Me Now,” the entire tracklist feels like a concert set merely adjusted in volume for the studio environment. It’s raw and unapologetically brash, both of which are becoming unpopular traits among many mainstream artists recently (for reasons that don’t make a lot of sense to me).
The music video for “I Got a Heart” tells me that the live gigs The Confusionaires put on must really be something to see, and while it might take a little time to get them back onto the stage where they belong, this is a good way of luring the audience a little closer to their core artistry in the meantime. They definitely don’t seem to hold back when they’re inside of the (usually) restrictive walls of a recording studio, and in this album, I don’t get the impression they took much time to consider whether or not typical pop polish fit into their big picture.
I had no clue who The Confusionaires were before I listened to From the Headache to the Heartache, but I definitely want to catch them in person the next time they hit the road in support of this most recent effort. They have energy that is too natural and focused to go unexploited, and though they’re off to a pretty good start here, I think we haven’t even begun to hear what their peak could sound like. I can’t speak for every critic, but I myself am eager to hear what happens for these guys next.