Album Reviews

A delightful five song taster of a lot more to come hopefully from Diagrams and Sam Gendes, an ex stalwart of hip folk collective Tunng.

The songs are very varied on the ep from the opening of ‘Night All Night’  with an acoustic  base and honey rich vocals, a lovely song , to the second song  which adds brass and strings and just about a much fun  as you can have with a song, that’s the free flowing  ‘Antelope’ .

Hill brings in some electronics and yet another change of pace.  ‘Woking’ again a nice song this time, with a big ‘Elbow’ feel. Final song Icebreakers is just plain beautiful in a folk groove, with added thunder.

So in conclusion a superb ep that certainly leaves us eager for more.

Diagrams play the End of The Road Festival this weekend and the physical EP still seems to be on Amazon, so get it while you still can.

Pete

9/11

From the opening cords and blast of horns we are comfortable, warm, cosy and happy in familiar territory. ‘A Candle's Fire’ the opening song is pure and simply, sublime. 

‘The Rip Tide’ is (as usual with Beirut) short at 33 minutes but, I guess as the saying goes, "always leave them wanting more"
 
Santa Fe is equally impressive as the opener, pure joy. ‘East Harlem’ is a change of pace to Zach Condon’s delicate side. ‘Goshen’ has beautiful piano set against Zak's vocals and that ever present brass chimes in.
 
On ‘Paynes Bay’ the horns (is there a clarinet there?) are heart wrenching at the start before the song catches pace and the title song, The Rip Tide' is an epic.
 
Like the early autumn chill that has been affecting the UK in recent days, you may well have been grabbing that jumper out of the cupboard for extra warmth; that's exactly what The Rip Tide offers.
 
I'll leave the rest of the album for you to discover because, every home should own this album and yes after the final song 'Port of Call' we are left wanting more!
 
10/11
Pete
 
1. A Candle's Fire 
2. Santa Fe 
3. East Harlem 
4. Goshen 
5. Payne's Bay 
6. The Rip Tide 
7. Vagabond 
8. The Peacock 
9. Port Of Call 
 

Website

I listened to this album a lot on my summer holiday, so it’s good to know that it sounds as good on a wet Tuesday in London as it did on a sunny beach in Italy. I recently described this album to someone as ‘early Pink Floyd visits The Beatles on a journey via Sly Stone’, and although that doesn’t cover all of the influences on display here, it should give you some idea of the type of sounds you’ll hear within. 

Album opener ‘Ffunny Ffriends’ is the first track I heard from the record (as is often the case it came from the Tom Ravenscroft show on BBC 6music). It’s a good introduction to the band, with shuffling drumbeats, a catchy guitar line and melodic but slightly fuzzy vocals. ‘Bicycle’ (a sequel to Pink Floyd’s ‘Bike’ perhaps?) feels almost like The Kinks musically, although the lyrics - ‘All of you can eat my dust’ - are decidedly modern. Next track ‘Thought Ballune’ opens with some guitars stolen from The Beatles, and matches them with an equally Beatles-esque chorus. 

‘Jello and Juggernauts’ is a slightly more mellow track with some typically psychedelic words, while ‘How Can You Luv Me’ ups the pace, with a funky bassline (particularly in the Disco middle eight!) and some equally rhythmic drumming. 

Next up is ‘Nerve Damage’ which starts and ends with some annoying Peter Frampton / Bon Jovi guitar/voice tube sounds, but in between becomes the punkiest thing on the album, very much in the Stooges line. Meanwhile ‘Little Blu House’ is one of the most melodic tracks, a 60s tune fitted to a simple drum machine which comes in at exactly 3 minutes – the perfect length for a pop song. Then ‘Strangers are Strange’ brings the funky bass back. 

‘Boy Witch’ brings back the ghost of Syd Barrett – it’s very Floyd-influenced and could easily be a track from their first album. On the iTunes version of the album there are a couple of bonus tracks – ‘I Want To Be Left To My Own Devices’ and ‘Cyrus’ Theme’. The former is a distorted acoustic ditty, while the latter is an engaging instrumental. 

Overall then, an album that draws its influences from each of the past five decades, and wraps them up in something that’s both comfortingly familiar and enjoyably unusual. 

8/11 

Russell 

Website

 

Fancy a trip in a time machine? It only covers two decades, 60’s and 70’s and it will take you to a hot steaming small bar in any U.S. city. It’s packed, low ceilings, sticky floor, beer in hand (the last one, went all over your shirt from the crush). On stage, as the sweat drips off, the walls, Night Beats are thrashing through their debut self titled album..

It’s full of Physch guitars, distorted vocals, garage rock roots, It’s reverb drenched, glorious Rock n Roll played at ear splitting volume.

Outside after the gig, sweaty, dazed and fantastically (on a musical) high, you stumble back to the time machine and head home.

Waking up next morning with a sore head and in desperate need of a shower, memories drift back. You were at a gig, it was brilliant, and who was that band? But wait, there, in 2011, in your hand, is the psychedelic covered album by Night Beats so, it was true! You can now relive the Rock n’ Roll dream over and over every night!

Nights Beats are Danny Lee Blackwell Guitar/Vocals, Tarek Wegner Bass/Vocals and James Traeger. Drums/Vocals. They hail from Seattle, Washington. Let’s hope they hit the U.K. soon!

10/11

Pete

Band

Album

This man stood on the stage at Woodstock with the legendary Mountain and from then on rock stardom and respect was guaranteed. Unlike bands like the The Who and Santana for example who amongst others went on to Stadium filling outfits. Mountain remained a heavy rock purists dream. 

Now aged 65 and recently loosing the bottom half of his right leg to amputation following complications from diabetes. Leslie West returns, accompanied by guest appearances from Slash, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, Zakk Wylde, Toto's Steve Lukather and Joe Bonamassa, with, Kenny Aronoff playing drums on ‘Unusual Suspects’. 

The album is pure blues rock this time around and was completed before Leslie’s operation and with those aforementioned alumni of guitarists adding a helping hand. 

Nice piano and Steve Lukather‘s (Toto) acoustic guitar combine with Leslie on the opening blues boogie work out of ‘One More Drink for the Road’. Low down and dirty, ‘Mudflap Mama’ features Slash. Two songs in and already sparkling guitars! 

‘To The Moon’ is just Leslie with the band and it’s a smooth rock song, that explodes into an anthem. Straight back to the special guests with Billy F. Gibbons. ‘Standing on Higher Ground’ was recorded standing toe to toe in a Los Angeles Studio. It has Gibbon’s trademark guitar all over it. (ZZ Top got one on their first major breaks supporting Mountain on tour, way back when) and is a real rocker. 

Willie Dixon and Eddie Boyd’s blues standard Third Degree is re-recorded for this album by Leslie and this time with Joe Bonamassa along for the ride. It’s a stunner. Zakk Wylde appears on Nothing Changed and again the blues ferocity drives the song. 

The power house behind all the songs is drummer Kenny Aronoff and with half the songs on the album ‘guestless’ is gives the album great contrast. 

Whist the cover of ‘I Feel Fine’ does not really add anything to the song, the matter is soon put right with a superb rendition of Willie Nelson’s ‘Turn Out The Lights’ with West,Wylde and Slash on acoustic and electric guitars. It’s a gem. 

It’s been a long road for Leslie West and with recovery and health going forward it’s gonna just get longer. 

Pete

8/11

 

1. One More Drink for the Road 

2. Mud Flap Momma 

3. To the Moon 

4. Standing on Higher Ground 

5. Third Degree 

6. Legend 

7. Nothin's Changed 

8. I Feel Fine 

9. Love You Forever 

10. My Gravity 

11. The Party's Over 

12. I Don't Know  (Bonus)

13. The Beetlejuice Song  

Unusual Suspects is released by Provogue Records on 19th September. 

Mountain   

Provogue Records  

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