[Reivew} Backstage Stories – Robertas Semeniukas

I may never understand what it is that Robertas Semeniukas is saying, but that’s sort of beside the point, I suppose. Semeniukas’ Backstage Stories, a Lithuanian-language record is, undoubtedly, a guitar rock to please classic rock enthusiasts from the west.  And for what cultural barriers may exist for listeners, Semeniukas makes up for in raw energy and unbridled enthusiasm across all 20 album tracks.

Most of the jams (and I do mean “jams” – nothing is under three and-a-half minutes and most veers towards the other side of four minutes) align themselves with music we might hear from Promise Of The Real and Jason Isbell’s scenes. “Nesustok” could stand as a hit on the Americana charts if it were in English, likewise, “Per Bangas” could probably burn up the modern country space with no problem. Still, not to slight Semeniukas’ native tongue, one of the records strongest tracks is “You Gotta Move” – not simply because it’s in English. Semeniukas inhabits the traditional vocals and overall groove of the classic spiritual so well you almost forget The Stones had their way with it.

Backstage Stories also has its fill of instrumental tracks, ranging from Vai-era Zappa orchestrations to worldly, sky-engulfing, SRV licks that shapeshift into wonderfully maudlin gloom and doom. Semeniukas is, without question, a guitar hero in his own right and had an hour and half of music with quite a bit of weight to prove it. Pop it on and here for yourself, rock hounds.

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