Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Eliza Neals – Breaking and Entering | Album Review

Eliza Neals – Breaking and Entering | Album Review

Self Release


12 tracks / 51:08

Sometimes a new album gets misplaced on my desk, and it takes me way too long to get around to reviewing it. This happened with Eliza Neals’ Breaking and Entering, which is a damned shame as this Detroit diva really delivers the goods with this disc of hard-hitting original blues-rock.

Eliza has all the right pieces for success. Her voice which is often compared to Janis Joplin, but I disagree and assert that she has found her own sound and a style that takes the phrase “high energy” to new levels. Her passion and power are so intense that it would be hard for you to find her equal. She is also an incredible songwriter who has managed to earn both the rock and blues songwriting awards from the Detroit Blues Society. Neals wrote eleven of the twelve songs on this release, with co-writing credit for some of the tunes going out to fellow Detroit blues hero Howard Glazer, who brought his axes into the studio for this project.

Eliza kicks off the set with “Detroit Drive” which features Glazer on the Dobro and Erik Maluchnik pounding out the beat on the kick drum. Neals shows a lot of versatility here as she is able to take the vocals from soft to loud at will, while maintaining an edge throughout. This basic acoustic blues provides a cool contrast with the heavy electric blues-rock that is found through much of this record.

This is followed up by the title track, which is the standout song from this disc. “Breaking and Entering” is seven minutes of guitar-fueled awesomeness, and Eliza howls the lyrics with her amazing vocal skills. Paul Randolph on bass and Tim Grogan behind the drum kit hold down the backline on this 1970s AOR epic piece of pychedelia. Glazer and Neals battle it out for who gets to be in the foreground of the sonic stage, and this contest ends up as a draw.

The sole cover is “Sugar Daddy,” a sweet piece of northern soul that was written by fellow Detroiter Barrett Strong. Neals pulls off a more than respectable smooth Motown sound, accompanied by backing vocals from Lizz Kristi, a heavy lead guitar from Shane Visbal, and B3 from Tyrone Smith. This song is completely different than everything else on Breaking and Entering, and it provides for an interesting break.

The album finishes off with a radio edit of “Breaking and Entering” (with a more accessible 4 ½ minute run time), but the real end of the set is “Spinning.” This slowly grinding song uses Glazer’s heavily distorted guitar for the introduction then Eliza tears into the lyrics with a few layers of her distinctive voice. This bare-bones guitar and voice is really the essence of what Neals is all about – in the end it all comes down to the song, doesn't it?

Breaking and Entering is a fabulous effort from Eliza Neals, as it is well-performed and there is not a bad song to be found. She brought a great group of musicians together in the studio (14 in all), and they pulled off a lot of magic with their hard work. Check it out for yourself, and do not make the mistake of misplacing this disc!


  1. Hey Rex,
    I appreciate you finding my album on your desk it could have been lost forever;) Thank You for your cool words on what I created in "Breaking And Entering" it was a labor of love from everyone. New bluesrock music soon xxo

  2. It is an awesome album, Eliza, and I am looking forward to hearing what you come up with next!