Breaking and Entering would be a crime if it doesn’t get wide recognition [oh, I hope I’m first with this punning….]. It is a superb bluesrock album, driven by the gruff and also at times refined vocal of Eliza Neals, matched by guitar rock as strident and sultry and sassy as that singing.
I like the acoustic, slide-guitar opening of Detroit Drive – no need to play all the hard-core blues cards just yet. However, when the chug of title track Breaking and Entering comes pumping in second, that bond of voice and wail is such a perfect full house. Third Jekyll and Hound consolidates that musical marriage, and the vocal harmonies demonstrate here, as elsewhere on the album, much fine songwriting – Neals contributing to all – as well as depth in the band performances. There is much of that guitar sass in the slide and fuzz on this track, and the gunslingers on the album are Howard Glazer and guest Kenny Olson.
I like everything on this album. But my stand-out on this high platform is You, Olson contributing the most glorious complement to Neals’ more ‘refined’ voice here, the tones merging in a sonic symbiosis that is both psychedelic and bluesheavy, the wah wah wailing in that beautiful pain right up there with the best of such hurt. This is a track with considerable production breadth, the choric vocal in support, right up to Neals and guitar finally in the stratosphere together. It’s an emotive ride.
Lest I seem just carried away in that previous, I will mention the – surprising – poprock of the track that follows this, Pretty Gritty, and in the context of the whole it is an engaging divergence, beats and handclaps reminding me of Hey Mickey – just a little! This is followed by Southern Comfort Dreams and we are back on original gritty ground, Neals’ vocal such a strong lead, as one would expect, and again there is some sweet harmonising backed by soaring guitar work. For yet more variation, there is the R&B of Sugar Daddy, skirting once more along pop sensibilities – with attitude. Next I’m the Girl is all funk.
Penultimate track Spinning [the album closes on a ‘radio edit’ of the title song] returns to bluesrock roots, riding the powerful tandem of huge vocal and fuzzed guitar, simple beats joining in as it pulses forwards. When we segue into that reprise of sorts, it is a perfect blues bookending. A mature album of considerable class.