Clean and sober after years of substance abuse, Joe Dodge has purged some serious demons in the making of this album. Most of the disarmingly catchy and well-crafted psychedelic-garage songs are about addiction and recovery.
Formerly a member of the '80s Tucson bands Jonny Sevin and Yard Trauma (check out YouTube), Dodge sings and plays rhythm guitar as well as drumming a little. He co-produced the album with longtime local music guru Randy McReynolds, who also mightily wrangles lead guitar and bass. Ernie Mendoza plays drums on four numbers.
In a sardonic baritone snarl, Dodge sings of the depths of self-abuse that characterize his illness as well as the accompanying cycles of denial, sorrow and self-pity. The downward spiral is aptly captured in "Rainy Afternoon," "My Demons Chasing After Me" and "Evil Spirits." He vividly maps out the self-degradation of addiction while rugged hard-rock riffs, pummeling rhythms and mind-bending guitar leads frame the catharsis.
"A Mystery to Me" is a straight-ahead, midtempo rocker that seems to recall middle-period Jefferson Airplane and hints at possible salvation through love.
The final track, "Running Out of Time," addresses the state of our nation, the environment and global malnutrition. In a sense, it's a triumph, indicating that Dodge has recovered enough to express concern about situations beyond his own wrenching journey.