The Brew – Control

Jazzhaus Records

Review by Mabh Savage

This album is just rocking from the get-go, instantly making me think of the hey-day of ZZ Top; gravelly yet melodic vocals, crunchy guitars and a formulaic but fun song structure. I’ve gotta say, I hadn’t heard of these guys before, and it’s always a gamble pressing play on a completely unknown album. Rocks Magazine says of The Brew

‘”The Brew are the future of modern classic rock music

I always find it bizarre, labelling something as modern classic anything; surely the term classic implies having stood the test of time, not simply a genre or style? Having said that, after listening to these licks and riffs, I can well believe that in time this band will earn the status of Classic.

The album itself is based on a very simple concept; the controls on your stereo. Yep, every song is a button you can press on your cd player or iPod. Well, probably just the CD player as one of the songs is called eject, a button we rarely need with digital media! It sounds a touch contrived; how can you write a good song about each function on a boom box?!? Yet it works, each song is perfectly formed and doesn’t feel like filler, which is the main thing I was afraid of.

The first track, Repeat, is definitely single material. A true, swing your hair, stomp your feet rock song. It makes my tired little soul sing to hear a proper rock song that is unashamedly fun, entertaining and unpretentious. It’s an immediate attention grabber, which is almost vital for an up and coming band in the rock scene. When there are so many albums to wade through, if you aren’t transfixed immediately, it’s easy to sigh and skip and not really pay attention. I am, however, definitely paying attention.

From this energetic start, I’m fully prepared for an album of similar, straight up and down rock belters. I am pleasantly surprised to find amazing variations on this style including some darker, almost ballad like tunes such as Pause and Mute, that remind one of Led Zeppelin’s more mournful offerings, without losing that crunchy edge.

By the time I reach Shuffle, almost half way through the album, I know I’m going to score this album highly. The guitar work is awesome. Their own website compares the style to Hendrix, and while I think that’s possibly a touch egotistical, some of the solos are definitely at that level, and that whimsical style of flowing, effortless melody. The drumming is tight and hard, and the vocals are gorgeously gruff. Then this track, Shuffle, wow. What an anthem. You know those songs that stay with you from the first moment you hear them? There aren’t many, are there. This is one. I’m still wide eyed and humming when Fast Forward jerks the tempo back up and makes me think AC/DC with Chris Cornell on vocals. There is nothing about this style that does not make me happy.

The Brew say of this album

As musicians, there is always a point where you have to expand and make a change, challenge yourselves and keep it fresh. With ‘Control’ we wiped the slate clean and went for a raw and live feel.  We all literally sat down and said, how would we do this live? So we recorded totally live… even all effects were done in the moment to the point where you can hear the pedals being turned on and off.

This really comes across; the energy and passion of a live performance, and the crunch of distortion contrasting with sweet acoustic guitar as the mood and timbre changes throughout the album. Yet they manage to keep the entire recording clean, tight and bright. There’s none of that mushiness you often get with live recordings, and I can well believe that there would be a great deal more of this rawness and rock purity at a live gig.

I can’t believe that I’ve been missing out on this band, who have been releasing since 2006. This album is a great introduction, and I’ll definitely be checking out their back catalogue. Do yourself a favour; go pre-order this. Inject some rock into your life. You won’t regret it.


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