Lane Mack, Swampodisiac (Independent)

Lane Mack’s sophomore effort Swampodisiac is sonic proof that his auspicious 2015 debut wasn’t a fluke but a solidly constructed foundation to build upon. Compared to its eponymously titled predecessor, the five-song Swampodiasic has better studio production, a bigger guitar sound and more spellbinding grooves. “Dynamite” is the best example of its groove-ology. The Lafayette-based guitarist trades guitar and bass riffs back and forth and emulates a Howlin’ Wolf howl while the séance-like vocals of Sweet Cecilia add to the intensity. “Hell on My Backside” initially feels Robert Johnson–inspired before launching into a full-blown bombastic rocker with Nick Stephan playing a baritone sax through a Leslie organ for a buzzy quasi-jazz texture.

As a result of being a contestant on The Voice and collaborating with the other contestants, Mack has improved immensely as a vocalist (not that he was bad before). Sometimes he even sings with a rock-star swagger, such as on the blitzkrieg “Gimme That Love,” which mixes a Black Crowes bluesy angst with Stax-powered horns.

But Mack can write gripping songs too, such as “The Water is Rising” inspired by the devastating floods of 2016. Towards the end of the song, there’s an uplifting feeling of solidarity and resiliency as people unite and rebuild their lives together. That’s good story-telling and underscores how Mack is more than just a fiery-fingered guitar slinger.