Lord David, “Blood from a Stone” (Independent)

It works just fine for the here and now, but this debut from local singer-songwriter Lord David sounds like it should be copyrighted 1991, that fateful year when hair-metal crested and broke on the inevitable culmination of a full decade of underground “college rock,” leading to the eventual triumph of “alternative” music. David essentially bookends this collection of ten songs with the kind of outsize meat-and-potatoes riff and roll that borrows heavily from the Rolling Stones, the kind of bar-band stuff where you hear the very last of rock’s original blues leanings shivering their way out of the mainstream.

What they don’t come with, thank God, is any of the booming, echoey, corporate Aqua Net production this would have had at the time, which makes them sound not only cleaner and more direct but more clever. And more impressive: David recorded this album almost all on his own, save for the drums. But while he might have come off like a one-man Faster Pussycat, it’s in the heart of the album where he starts to play to his strengths with a more acoustic-based and personal approach that makes his ballads more genuine—and, in that context, drags his riff-rockers from Axl Rose into Paul Westerberg territory. When he gets more lucid, his handful of guest spotlights make sense, like Dave Easley’s pedal steel, Irene Sage’s backup vocals, and Ratty Scurvics’ drums.

Blood from a Stone reaches its peak exactly at midpoint with the openhearted mid-tempo yawp of “Closer” leading right into the epic, nearly symphonic extended metaphor of “Siren,” and while simple romantic distress still takes up most of his mind, David eventually comes off like an authentic late-Eighties roots rocker, raised by folk-rock but brought through puberty by punk. He probably won’t be transitioning to grunge like his forebears did, but that’s probably just as well: his blues aren’t quite so self-involved as all that.