The Routes

The Routes
The Routes: Toru Nishimuta, Bryan Styles, and Chris Jack.

Color the Routes’ mastermind Chris Jack’s music how you like: vintage-y, psychedelia, joyfully and unapologetically garage. But be sure to color it outside the lines.

Jack is a musical mad scientist. Each release – whether it’s a full band outing or his stellar 2020 solo shot Miles To Go – charts varied directions, myriad influences, and new frontiers.

This is the eighth disc from the Routes, and if you haven’t been keeping score, the band is a bit of a musical-chairs game with a sound that’s never fixed. Jack’s infatuation with wacky vintage Brit and Japanese oddball guitars – the more curves, switches, glitter, and pickups the better – is matched by his love for experimenting with old-skool fuzzes and other oddball effects through classic amps you’ve only heard rumors of.

The title track is a swirling, rocking confection, while “Two Steps Ahead” rides a driving punky underground progression with classic trebly guitar tones; think of the Monks, 13th Floor Elevators, the Zombies, Japanese surf rock – but don’t get stuck there. The Routes’ trip is gloriously unpredictable.

This article originally appeared in VG’s August 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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