As the reigning Milwaukee Band Of The Year (per an 88Nine listener poll) with a WAMI award to its credit and songs featured in a pair of Brewers and Packers tailgate-themed Miller Lite TV spots, The Delta Routine must have done at least few things right up to this point. So it’s only fitting for the band’s third album, Cigarettes & Caffeine Nightmares, to be nestled in the same comfortable, well-liked niche already occupied by its predecessors.
The Delta Routine’s latest kicks the doors open with boisterous opener “Waste Your Time,” which marks the first of 11 such efforts. Seeming to draw influence from a myriad of rock ‘n’ roll mainstays that range anywhere from Jet to Oasis to The Black Keys to early Rolling Stones (among others), The Delta Routine’s, uh, routine is laid out early and followed to a tee. That pattern is expressed in a clear-cut string of fuzzy, guitar-driven efforts, each lathered in a thick coat of singer Nick Amadeus’ distorted vocals and a steady diet of “bops” and “woos” sprinkled throughout.
Almost every song on Cigarettes could act as a sturdy single (save for sub-two-minute “Back To Bed” and “Around Your Neck”), but with so many similar-sounding tracks vying to bend the listener’s ear, the album begins to blend together at times. The rare departure comes by way of “New York Avenue,” a buried breather from the jangly rock throwbacks. The song shows a subdued side of the band, complete with string accompaniment and a true introduction to new organ player Al Kraemer.
As “Oh, no” brings “New York Avenue” to a dead end, normalcy is restored as smattering of “alrights" and “c’mons" again, get feet stomping toward the album’s conclusion. Really, Cigarettes & Caffeine Nightmares is chock full of reincarnations of retro rock ‘n’ roll greats, as well as functional renditions of modern alt-rock heavy-hitters. The album is fun and would translate exceptionally well to a live setting, but it’s not a particularly bold artistic venture. Fans of The Delta Routine – of which there seem to be many – will find more of the same with the band’s latest effort. Fortunately for them, that seems to be enough.
Listen to a song on SoundCloud.