Listenable Records(EU/UK)/Devil’s Music Records
Review by Rick Ossian
Upon first listening to this recording, I marvelled at the fact that it is, indeed, a debut. I was sceptical at first, as I am upon hearing most debuts. How dare they?, I find myself asking – how dare they be THIS good on their first time out? How is it possible? Trust me, dear readers – it is not only possible – it is nigh on likely that you won’t hear a better debut this year. If you like music that rocks, then this is the debut for you. If you like music that is dance-floor, back-alley club funky, then this may just be the funkiest cuppa you’ve heard/drank all year! I know I sound enthusiastic, and anybody who is used to reading my drivel can tell you that I get pretty excited when I hear something I like it. Hell, I’d be the first one to admit it. I am not only enthused by this group, I am going to champion them every chance I get!
Every track within is not only funky, it is HEAVY. So, if you are into the heavy funk, then this is a must-hear for you. Take the opener, Take Your Medicine, for example. Maybe you like the bass guitar, you say? Then you NEED to hear this tune. It is old-school 70’s style heavy metal boogie. Imagine some early Foghat or Savoy Brown tail-gating The Answer to a fireworks stand and arriving simultaneously with a blast of Faces or Beggars Banquet-era Rolling Stones! If you can somehow summon a picture like that, then you’re getting close!
Most of the tracks herein can be described with equal enthusiasm. If you dig the funk from up above, then the track Another Thing Coming (NOT a Judas Priest cover, by the by) should titillate and fascinate in equal measures. This tune features a driving, pumping , THUMPING solid beat – a total funk metal groove. Though it is not the Priest cover that I was fully expecting, it is every bit as good. Throw in the obligatory guitar solo (2:30) and you’ve got the rock song in a nice neat little package. Albeit of Ramones-style length (2:47 overall), it is short AND sweet. If you can imagine a funky wicked synth groove with a kick, then this is what you’re about to hear!
I should probably put something in about your lovely lads before I go any further. These Melbourne chaps are Tim Henwood (vocals, percussion), Leigh Maden and Matthew Harrison on guitar(s), Andrew Gilpin (VERY funky bass guitar), Anthony Troiano (drums) and Sean Johnston on keyboards. As I mentioned earlier, this is, believe it or not, their debut LP. Their bio says they are “steeped in bluesy swagger and riff-heavy psychedelia, this is rock and roll that leaves a trail of denim-clad soldiers and converted non-believers in its wake“. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Burn My Bridges brought the inherent excitement back to the fore again. This is thumpity funking heavy again, this time almost grumpy, grungy, even doom and gloomy. Kind of like a Sabbath/P-Funk slam at the intersection. Nice riffs and a sweet, superfunky 60’s/70’s groove. “I ain’t takin’ no more shit from you!“, bellows Tim. We get the distinct impression that he means business. This is some definitely Stoner-y stuff, too, featuring a psych breaking with a lead guitar solo AT THE SAME TIME!! There is also a psych fade-out with feedback. I would be willing to bet that you haven’t heard THAT for a while!
White Bird (Bring Your Armies Against Me) is another tune with a way cool riff intro and a solid rhythm pocket that keeps on kicking. This track features a super-human stonking funky groove (AGAIN!), not to mention vocal and instrumental breakdowns and lead guitar solos – one even includes a marching drum roll (wow) at the same time. About five minutes in they actually bring in a new riff after the breakdown, with another lead thrown in for good measure right towards the end. What a great track!
Ain’t Got Nobody to Blame But Myself is yet another nut-busting, funkified power blast of a heavy metal groove. I know, broken record Rick (right?), but I can’t think of a better way to describe it. There is also some serious bad-assery going on in the bass guitar department, and oh yeah can’t forget the intro! If you like the old feel of a Hammond B3 organ ala Ken Hensley (Uriah Heep) or Jon Lord (Deep Purple), then you will absolutely dig this number!
Leave Me Behind is more of the same, only I would probably describe this as a mosh of several styles. Namely, blues, rock, pop and heavy metal. All at once, you might ask? Indeed, I would respond. Tim keeps going on about how “I’ll be here in your rear view mirror“, but other than that lyrically not much to digest. At 1:55 we get a brief saxophone solo, but we all need a little brass in our lives, right?
Devil’s Daughter is another super funky romp through some old heavy metal stylings. This one also features nice and tight vocal harmonies (I was reminded of a track title in particular here, just for the overall feel of the tune – Good Rockin’ Tonight!). This is bluesy rock with funky riffs, and also includes an instrumental breakdown about two minutes in. Live, this track would be an absolute showcase for the bass guitar and the keyboards. There is a lovely guitar solo at 2:30. I was reminded of several acts here – the Answer in particular (again), Cry of Love and Tangier.
Get Back Up (Burn the Sky) is another healthy, funked-up riffy number. There is a bluesy metal harmonica on board this one, and I noted to myself how this one would be another great showcase for the keyboards were it to be played live in concert. Another funkified rock number very much in the blues/funk of the 60’s and 70’s.
If It Ain’t Broke featured a sort of back-alley beat/sweet intro à la Humble Pie or an updated Faces swagger (again I was reminded of The Answer as well). “Don’t change a thing/why would you mess that up?” Tim asks us. Indeed, why? One lead guitar solo (2:40) and an instrumental breakdown – mainly guitar – later, and we are almost finished. This is a blues, barroom boogie style number, with the keys and the bass to the fore again. We get to hear everybody jam on the fade out, which is a cool trick if you can pull it off.
No Chance In Hell struck me as an interesting tune – not only is it another funk-heavy beat boogie, it is about something we ALL go through during our primary years…I know I did when I was in junior high and high school. This is about the one that got away, the one that we thought was out of our league…get the picture? The models, the wannabe actresses, the ones they always feature in the underwear ads! It is a heavy slammer, and I was reminded of Status Quo for some reason. Probably the boogie aspect! We get an instrumental breakdown again (of course), and the obligatory guitar solo (2:50), but that is beside the point! What we get with this set of tracks is far beyond anything that I could tell you about – even as excited as I am- in a simple review. This is one of those missives that BEGS to be heard – to be listened to! Please do so, and you will NOT be disappointed! Enjoy!