Here's a band from the U.K. that intentionally strips down its sound. Leader Mat Bethancourt put together a band you can "sing, dance, and f**k to". Noble intentions for sure, but let's see how the music plays out.
The opener, "She Turns Me On", starts out with Dan Lockton's drums going from speaker to speaker ala Peart on "By-Tor". A neat touch, and the song has a lot of energy, but it's a little too raw for me. "The Lie" is next, and has a nice retro feel. These guys seem to have some psychadelia in their arsenal.
This continues on the next number, "Ride My Black Balloon". This would fit nicely on Steppenwolf's Greatest Hits or very early Grand Funk or even Bloodrock. "Reflections In Black" opens with a way cool bass line from Gregg Hunt. I like this one. Again, very reminiscent of late 60's rock. I wish this song would have been more developed, it could have jammed. But it does contain a nice lead though. And there are enough interesting bits to keep them from being an anachronism.
One thing I've noticed is the distortion on the vocals. Maybe they feel the need to do this to make it sound more retro or raw, but cleaner would accentuate the music better. The have definite songwriting talent. "Jezebel" continues with this distortion, a two minute absolute mess of a tune. Then there's "Cheetah", which stalls fairly soon after it begins. And after that we have "I Can See The Girls Grow", fun in spots but needs help.
The last three songs on the CD rebound nicely, however. "The Need" has a lot of soul. Good rock tune. "In My Mind" may be the best song here, tuneful and sung with passion. The verses are fantasticůlike something Ten Years After would come up with. But oh those distorted vocals!
"Fridays In June" closes the CD with a nice instrumental number, albeit a bit high on the distortion. So we have a fairly decent record, with a lull in the middle.
Overall, it isn't bad, and I'd bet live they crush. But you need to be in the mood to play it. A fairly raucous mood that is.
- Rick (and roll) Dashiell
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