From Rolling Stone to Playboy, music critics are cheering Hydraulic Groove. Here's what they had to say:
Hydraulic Groove (Tone Cool, 2002)
"This is blues for the avant mind."
"These days, few can make the blues seem as fresh and flat-out fun as guitarist/singer Rick Holmstrom. Holmstrom's music has a retro feel but keeps its feet firmly planted in the New School. On his third solo album, the guitar great enlists producer Rob Schnapf (Beck, R.L. Burnside, Foo Fighters), and keeps things interesting with sampled sound-bites of blues elders and guest turns by DJ logic and organist John Medeski. The vibe is a joyful, party-ready take on the blues...music this good won't allow for anything else."
"...an outrageously audacious blending of syncopated beats, samples, and his time-warp, jitterbugging blues improvisations. It is the most revolutionary development in the last 30 years of blues guitar."
"Holmstrom's second album from Tone Cool Records combines his skillful vintage riffs and progressions with trip-hop, samples ala Beck and co., organs and modern textures provided by the digital age. One is not meant to replace the other; it'll all amalgamate into one cool sound. Don't be scared."
--THE VILLAGE VOICE
"If there's one guy who proves that vintage vibes can come from modern colors, it's Rick Holmstrom. As far-fetched as it may seem, Holmstrom's new disc, Hydraulic Groove--with it's samples, drum loops, backwards guitars, lo-fi vocals, and other such modern textures--packs more than enough blues sting to please even die-hard traditionalists."
"An L.A. guitarist creates a new kind of blues...Holmstrom: blues innovator."
--LOS ANGELES TIMES
"When guitarist Rick Holmstrom heard the blues samples Moby and Fatboy Slim added to their music, he tried the same thing in reverse -- adding electronic beats and samples to his R&B. You'd think the result might sound contrived, but Hydraulic Grove is unaffected and made for pleasure. Holmstrom creates entirely modern blues."
"It's an adventurous album that is not afraid to use samples and electronics to preach the gospel of the blues, but doesn't sacrifice the organic touch that makes the blues so human."
--CMJ NEW MUSIC JOURNAL
"The genre-busting tone man Rick Holmstrom staked his turf within the first minute...to create a revolutionary style of ultra-contemporary blues. By the time they closed with the stunning "Pee Wee's Nightmare" all notions of traditional blues had been kicked squarely in the butt."
"A master guitarist show us the future...Holmstrom, arguably the best guitarist under 40 in blues, has opted for a genre-expanding/exploding approach...an icon-smashing new album...with waves of sound that flow and ebb like things heard through a big-city window at 3 a.m. But these are real songs, not just pastiches, and they have real structures and an uberbeat that jacks straight into the central nervous system. It's a spectacularly audacious disc that works far better than Tom Rothrock's experiments on R.L. Burnside's 'Come On In', and it's definitely not the 'same old blues' the folks at Fat Possum complain about. For an imagined antecedent, figure a beat-crazed Beck jamming with the Earl's -- Hooker and Palmer -- at Johnny Depp's Viper Room. Give it an A for adventure."