With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

‘peace places: Kenyan memories’ EP – Nyokabi Kariũki March 27, 2022


On her latest EP, Kenyan composer and performer, Nyokabi Kariũki, skillfully brings together her Western classical music training and a mastery of African instruments. The music is experimental, imaginative and above all, takes us all on an emotional journey exploring her most cherished spots in and around Nairobi. At the time of composing ‘peace places’, she was living in the States and didn’t know when she’d be able to safely return to Kenya because borders were closed due to the pandemic. Kariũki shows us both the joyful moments of being home as well as the difficulties. “Peace maybe always does come with disconnect and dissonance and that’s still part of it, and maybe there’s a bit of home in that as well,” she says. As you listen to ‘peace places’, the tracks are engineered in a way that makes you feel like her memories of certain places are coming and going or sketchy. Distortion, echo, fadeouts, and drifting between four languages (Kiswahili, Kikuyu, Maa, and English), you get a real sense of this inner peace and at the same time the disconnect she refers to.

The EP was released in February this year through UK-based label SA Recordings. ‘peace places’ was recorded in Maryland and New Jersey and field recordings in all tracks taken in various places around Kenya. 6 compositions and 6 places, her ‘peace’ places. She leads us through compositions about a stroll through a farm, the ocean at dawn voices of family, contributions from close friends, the interwoven languages of home and heritage. In the opening piece and second single from the EP, ‘Equator Song’, Kariũki uses the chirping of a pair of Speke weaver birds as the backbone and sings sweet harmonies over the discordant squawking. Whilst she was travelling through Kenya, she was captivated by the chatter of the bright yellow weaver birds (pictured on the cover) and observed the disconnect between the birds’ fine feathers and rattling commotion, highlighting her growing sense of displacement. As she sings in English, Kariũki draws out the line “You’ll find my soul on someone’s tongue” – a suggestion of the plain fact and lingering pain of not being able to express herself in her native language, as a result of years of British colonial rule. On “A Walk Through My Cũcũ’s Farm” (cũcũ is the Kikuyu word for grandmother) a recording of a visit to her grandmother on Christmas Day 2020. It features a recording of her mother exclaiming in Kikuyu how difficult it is to pull an onion out of the ground. It’s a special memory for Kariũki, even if we aren’t familiar with the context or the language. The track also uses audio from a video she took while she and her brother tried to close the doors that housed her grandmother’s cows. Kariũki’s voice can be heard saying “Let it open, let it open,” though we aren’t directly told what’s being opened. The music paints a picture: cowbells ringing from goats or perhaps her grandmother’s cows, chirping birds, and various narrative sections. Throughout the track there is an underlying and anxious sounding electronic buzz, coming and going, sometimes hazy.

On “Galu”, the first single from the EP, released last year, percussionist Chris O’Leary recreates the sound of the ocean at dawn as Kariũki works and builds on a vocal that grows, evolves into harmonies as though her memory of this ‘peace place’ becomes clearer. At the same time, the drums become more solid and recognisable. Then as her memories fade, so do her vocals and the drums. “Galu” is a cleverly crafted composition, invoking her short yet erstwhile memories of home. A classically trained pianist, her interest in music grew from an early age – on the song “home piano”, Kariũki records herself improvising on the piano she’s had since she was 8. In a recent interview with ourculture magazine, she says that “The piano is still always going to be a peace place for me. Regardless of where I am, it’s just so familiar”.
“Ngurumo” or “Feeding Goats Mangoes” centres on a specific task with conversation, choral vocals, thumb piano, and of course, goats. She talks often about how she includes recordings that she took with her phone, some of them were from videos that she was taking with her phone casually when on holiday. “Oh, I’m by the water or I’m in the village where my dad grew up, let me take a video…There’s this audio from a video of me and my brother feeding mango peels to some goats in the farm in my father’s hometown, because it’s like a fun, silly thing to do.

Perhaps the most conceptually striking piece is the last one, “Naila’s peace place”, in which Kariũki’s friend Naila Aroni (who also painted the record’s artwork) records herself walking through Lamu on the Kenyan coast with a close friend. The town doesn’t allow cars—instead, boats or donkeys transport people. Kariũki hasn’t been there, but Aroni and her other friend visited and discussed how surreal and magical the town felt. “It doesn’t feel real this place, it just doesn’t…” says one of the voices. In the music, vocals and various voices swirl around a vibraphone and electronic fuzz. It’s meditative music and “It sounds like joy,” Kariũki says. Every track on this EP ventures to a different place using field recordings and vocals, audio from video as well as different percussion instruments, like kalimbas, mbira, piano, vibraphone, a drum set, and gyil (West African xylophone). ‘peace places’ has been a perfect springboard for Kariũki to explore her newfound interest in using electronic composition to celebrate Kenyan languages and places.

Written by Juan Brooks.

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“Twisted Cord” – Caulbearers March 16, 2022


Until last week I had never heard of Manchester-based Caulbearers – hard to believe that I have missed out on their infectious and totally engaging music for the last 10 years. That, I’m happy to say, has now all changed, and I can’t get enough of them! Released by Single Cell Recordings on the 25 February 2022 their new upbeat 2-track single, comprised of “Twisted Cord”, an impressive funk-rock track, and a completely different B-side “Synching (Bubbling Spring Remix)”. The title track is a masterful mix of guitars, drums, bass, and synths producing a rich and layered sound. I have been binge-listening to this awesome track (and all of their previous releases) and each time I listen I hear a multitude of genres; electronica, jazz, pop, funk, world, and folk. That’s no surprise when the tracks have been mixed and mastered courtesy of Seadna Mcphail (Badly Drawn Boy, Jah Wobble, Everything Everything, I Am Kloot, Happy Mondays) and Jim Spencer (New Order, Johnny Marr, Charlatans, Factory Floor). The track kicks off with a catchy and gritty guitar hook, which stays throughout, and is also my earworm at the moment! This song explores different musical areas and often hearing nuances of Flamenco and sometimes Arabic sounds, all enhanced by renowned violinist, Olivia Moore, whose own work fuses jazz with Indian classical music.

This track also features a myriad of Manchester-based musicians such as pianist John Ellis (The Cinematic Orchestra, Stone Roses’ John Squire, Corinne BaileyRae, Tom Jones, Lily Allen) and bassist Alex Berry (The Earlies, King Creosote, Daniel Johnston, Thea Gilmore, Micah P Hinson). The band is fronted by Damien Mahoney, the driving force behind Caulbearers. He was a co-founder of Single Cell Collective, a group of artists, activists, and musicians from a housing estate in Hulme, Manchester, from where it all began. Together with guitarist Anton Hunter, cellist Stefan Skrimshire and drummer Phil Bennett they create a perfect musical delight. Ruth Blake also contributes background vocals in her ongoing collaboration with the band, bringing an unexpected folky feel to the track. “The songs are rarely stories specifically, but more like moods, deep emotional states or parallel worlds that we enter into, where scenarios, perspectives, and protagonists can shift and morph with a dream-like quality,” says Damien Mahoney.

The B-side, “Synching (Bubbling Spring Remix)”, is a complete contrast to the main track. It first appeared on their ‘More Lie Deep’ EP back in 2011, but don’t let that put you off. It meanders gently through some melodic glockenspiels, muted electronic drums, and cello strings producing an ethereal dreamy listening sensation. The song features Rob Turner (GoGo Penguin) on drums and Julie E Gordon (Happy Mondays) on backing vocals alongside Damien Mahoney. I was taken back to 1984 when I first heard this track, reminding me of Paddy McAloon from Prefab Sprout. That sophisticated musical style, breathless verses, and crisp rhythms. Emotional and melodic, Mahoney’s lyrics describe some of the profound experiences and teachings he received at Buddhist retreats many years ago, which have helped to lift long-term depression. It’s a B-side, but not one to be overlooked. Hurry up with the album and can’t wait to see you guys live!

Written by Juan Brooks.

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“Sentinel” – Richard Evans March 10, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 12:14 pm
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A great listen for March is the debut solo release from Manchester-based artist Richard Evans. On his album, ‘Sentinel’, he says: “It is an electro-pop concept album. It’s important that art has something to say about the world we live in and there is no bigger issue than climate change. The album is my take on the different facets of the subject – from the impact of micro-plastics to the paranoia of COVID, all in a pop package.” The project was recorded during various COVID lockdowns and developed from his acclaimed multimedia 60-minute live show. It has been performed at festivals across the country including Manchester Science Festival, Art Futura in London, EnableUS in Sheffield, and Light Night Leeds.
It will have massive appeal to those who love electro-pop and 80’s synth music. Using a Roland System 8 and a Korg Wavestate, Richard Evans achieves a well-crafted futuristic sound, its roots planted firmly in German techno but transporting us to the present. His synthpop / vocoder-based creations paired with his mellow timbre, explore modern-day problems.

Even though his voice has a remarkable similarity to Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys, Sentinel, a true concept album, demonstrates clearer parallels to the work of Canadian duo Rational Youth, Kraftwerk, New Order, and Jean-Michel Jarre. There are 8 vocoder-loaded tracks on the album. Having listened to it non-stop all morning, I’m taken back to the New Wave sound of the ’70s and ’80s, and everything that was great about the music back then. And then I’m transported at warp speed back to the present with the sound of modern synth pads. The opening track “Made Of Stars” seems to suggest that our substance of life comes from space and that in fact we are made of stars. The lyrics are simple, vocoder vocals and sequenced synths create a very easy to listen to opener and sets the scene for what’s to come.
“Brave New World” describes a chilling world not too dissimilar to Aldous Huxley’s novel, where children are created outside the womb and cloned in order to increase the population. Although we are living through different technology to Huxley’s time, we are now using CRISPR to edit genomes, alter DNA sequences and modify gene functions. To accompany this dystopian vision Evans creates a layered sound of haunting synths and a perfect drum accompaniment. Every now and then I swear I could hear some Duran Duran-inspired choruses. And why not, their name was inspired by a science fiction movie after all!

The stripped-back and uncomplicated track “2084” tackles the global issue of climate change. ‘2084’, is also the title of a book by John Lennox: ‘2084 Artificial Intelligence, The Future Of Humanity And The God Question’. Covid has now been with us for over 2 years now and in “Trick Machine” Evans looks at the idea of how we are now living through what’s been called the ‘anthropause’. The chance to examine the impact of our own absence. During lockdowns, we all experienced the great ‘human pause’, and wildlife scientists are now examining what this has meant to our environment and to us as humans. The clean sound and danceability of this track would not be out of place in a nightclub or a late-night bar, a lovely chilled-out piece of music. Similarly, the next track, “The Last Of Us”, projects a strong electro beat and is coupled with some short and to-the-point lyrics. “5,4,3,2,1,0 – Feel the new vibration, Feel the new vibration, Feel the new vibration. Are we the last of us?”

His single “Black Rain”, released January 2022, is about the atmospheric nuclear tests that were carried out in the ’50s and ’60s and the impact on today’s climate change issues. ‘On the streets of Hiroshima, Little Boy falls, still wants to play…On the shores of Fukushima, Little Boy smiles, still wants to play.’ Evans shows us here that nuclear disasters, intentional or otherwise, continue to take place and nothing happens, we don’t learn. OMD tackled the same issues when they wrote about “Enola Gay” (the aircraft that carried the nuclear bomb, Little Boy, killing more than 100,000 civilians in Hiroshima). Their version was a very 80’s dance song, this one is more sombre, perhaps a bit more fitting. “All Fall Down”, looks at Evan’s view of COVID paranoia. He sings about masks, visors, isolation, etc, but I think more interestingly, are his references to the FSB (the Russian Federal Security Service) and CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) ‘watching us’. It would suggest a much more sinister agenda from both superpowers, which aligns with some of the Covid conspiracy theories out there. The track hosts Evans’ melodic vocal timbre and is tastefully accompanied by infectious downbeat keyboards and drums. Jean-Michel Jarre clearly influencing this particular track. This masterpiece of an album/project/social comment closes with the track “Constellation”. Is Evans predicting the impending doom of the planet? Or is it more a plea for hope? ‘Kassandra’s plight, Her sacrifice’ is not a reference to the video game Assassin’s Creed but to a Trojan priestess of Apollo in Greek mythology. In modern usage, we use it to indicate someone whose accurate prophecies are not believed.

Richard Evans’ ‘Sentinel’ is a well-crafted piece of music. It’s sometimes has a chillout feel and sometimes a dance feel, but first and foremost it’s a social commentary on many issues facing us today. Enjoy listening to it and even better, get to one of his performances where he brings this to life…a powerful audio-visual experience. The album fell to earth on the 25th of February, courtesy of Cold Star Media, and is available through the usual streaming channels. There is also a limited vinyl edition, 180gsm on white vinyl is available to order exclusively through Digger’s Factory. Just 300 copies are available. The vinyl edition is scheduled to ship in April 2022. Watch Richard Evans perform Sentinel live on, the 11th of March at the Arts, The Old Fire Station, Oxford.

Written by Juan Brooks.

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Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip – The Crescent, York – Saturday 5th March 2022 March 8, 2022


I was able to attend this gig with our newest writer, Juan Brooks, and just before the gig over a couple of hot coffees (we’re proper rock ‘n’ roll) we decided to do this review as a collaboration. So while it is written in the first person the thoughts and words are from both of us. This is a different approach for us and we hope that you like it! being back at the Crescent (a first-time visit for Juan) was great and Joe, Head Honcho of Please Please You, and one of the Crescent’s Kingpins had lined up a great show. Sadly one great band, Cowgirl, had to pull out thanks to that bastard Covid. First up were the Surfing Magazines a relatively new garage-rock group from Leeds. They are made up of two-thirds of The Wave Pictures and one-half of Slow Club. Their surf-style instrumentals were spectacularly good and on these the Surfing Magazines really came into their own. The Dick Dale guitar licks were brilliant. Their cover of Jonathan Richman’s “Egyptian Reggae” transformed the tune into something that would be perfect on a Tarantino soundtrack. In fact, the Surfing Magazines would make an excellent choice as a bar band in a Tarantino film. Their country rock vocal harmonies were incredibly powerful and at times were reminiscent of the Everly Brothers, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and even Beatlesesque in some parts. The guitarist was supremely versatile going from the aforementioned Dick Dale, some Bo Diddley riffs, and the intricacy of Television’s Tom Verlaine. Even the broken guitar string didn’t phase the ace axeman. A powerfully good band!

We had both listened to some tracks from the headliner, Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip before the gig and neither of us could put them into any specific genre. Mik has elements of observational comedy across a great rock sound. But that is only part of what and who he is. Both of us had perma grins for the whole set, if you failed to smile during Mik’s set then you need your happy muscles checked. Mik is a very funny bloke and a great observer of the minutiae of human life. Almost every song has some everyday references from Dad muscles, playing horsey, betting shop pens, stuff you find down the back of the armchair and libraries. Indeed “Libraries” is an awesome track. Mik appears to be completely chaotic, but clearly knows what he is doing and that just plays to him putting on a great performance and a wonderful show. His energy is boundless, is he really 66? While he uses the spoken word approach a lot he does possess a fabulous singing voice that flits from punk, to rock, to folk, and onto ballads. There were so many highlights, “The Zumba Sign’s Come Down” and “Acoustic Synthesiser” are weird, wacky, and wonderfully hilarious. Meanwhile “DB Was A Funny Man” is a song of genius about the Dame himself, Mr. Bowie. Mik weaves in a few excerpts from Bowie hits into it too, notably “run for the shadows, run for the shadows” and “whop whop whop” from Bowie’s “Golden Years”. He also manages o get some Van Morrison elements in there too. The main highlight for both of us was “Sweet Leaf Of The North”, the whole introductory preamble and story, and then the song itself. Apparently Iggy Pop chose this as one of his highlights of the last decade. Sounds like he’s a big fan. Mik creates a sense of northern belonging and togetherness with his followers and has great fun with the audience. His affectionate and heartfelt mickey take of Vinny the sound guy was excellent too. It is worth pointing out that his band, particularly the guitarist Jonny Flockton are blessed with huge musical talent and are the perfect foil for Mik’s performance. Juan perhaps summed up Mik in one sentence by saying “for me, he is a modern-day Northern Ian Dury“! So difficult to argue with that. Both Juan and I have become Mik Artistik evangelists and will be telling everyone we meet that they need to see Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip live!

Written by Bill Adamson and Juan Brooks

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‘Future Plans And The Things That Ruin Them’ EP – Fights and Fires February 11, 2022


Since forming in 2008 this Worcester-based punk rock band has lived by their motto: “If you’re not having fun, then what’s the point in working this hard?” Fights and Fires are often described as emotive rowdy hardcore punk bangers or melodic hardcore-infused punk-rock, but however you want to think of them, they deliver a sound that is exhilarating and incendiary (pun intended). Since their formation, the band have released 4 albums, an EP, two split releases, and a handful of singles, which are now completely sold out on all formats. After turning their focus to touring mainland Europe, the band has built a solid underground fanbase throughout the continent. These guys love Star Wars, professional wrestling, and superheroes. Fights And Fires, offstage, look more at home in your local comic bookstore, than at a punk rock show. But, come stage time, it all changes – it’s nice guys, playing hard, in your face music, with wide smiles across their faces. Fights & Fires are Philip Cox (Vocals and trained professional wrestler), Ryan Price (Guitar and roller coaster fanatic), Philip Cook (Guitar and Football Manager supremo), Luke Tasker (Bass and lots of hidden talents), Lee Jackson (Drums and self-confessed football lunatic). Lyrically, this fun-loving quintet is not afraid to show us their emotions and musically not ashamed to wear their classic rock and post-hardcore influences side by side on their sleeves. What you get is a cleverly crafted sound of the likes of Thin Lizzy and Motorhead, as well as US punk bands Rocket From the Crypt and The Bronx.


‘Future Plans And The Things That Ruin Them’ EP, the latest addition to their repertoire, releases February 18 through Lockjaw Records. The EP was written throughout 2020 during the various lockdown periods, countless hours were spent writing over Zoom calls between the members’ homes in Worcester, Wales and France. In the summer of 2021, the band were able to re-unite, socially distanced of course 😉, to spend a day rehearsing before heading straight into the studio to record this well-crafted and poignant EP. “The only real theme of the EP is hope. The subject matter is often about hard times or struggles but the message is always one of finding a better way or a light at the end of the tunnel,” explains vocalist Philip Cox. I am pretty sure Philip, and the rest of his soulmates know about ‘Fights and Fires are the Flowers of Edo’ and how this expression is used to describe the destruction and rebuilding of Tokyo over the centuries. As we continue to destroy what’s around us, at some point we will rebuild and improve, giving us that hope of what may lie ahead in the future. The deep and meaningful stuff to one side, what about the EP? The hard-hitting opening track, “Disposable Dogs”, is their first single to be released at the back end of 2021. Cox’s distinctive vocals lead the way with his very own expressive style, reminding me at times of Robert Smith from the Cure and even Feargal Sharkey from the Undertones. Guitarwork from Price and Cook from start to end is always raw, pacy and sharp. Nicely complimented with Taskers pummelling bass throughout, this song is made up of many varied movements, a bit like a piece of classical music. The vocals, tuneful and melodic during the chorus, are very satisfying and anthemic. I can imagine being there at their gigs, singing along with the thousands of other fans. The lead up to the chorus focuses on the angst in Cox’s vocals creating the perfect backdrop for lyrics like ‘These are the problems that we face every day, these are our problems, and they don’t go away’. During the track, there’s a satisfying instrumental break, picked guitar and pounding floor toms, shining a light on how musically accomplished this band are. A belting opening track.

“Shitty Year”, released in January, begins where “Disposable Dogs” left off. ‘My indecisions are the source of my bad luck’, no wishbones, no four-leaf clover‘, the song takes a look back at a shitty year and looking forward with hope. Philip Cox and the band deliver another well-structured piece of melodic punk, thundering along with anthemic choruses. It’s been another shitty year yeah yeah – you have to love this clever wordsmanship creating a truly pop hook. Throughout Messrs Price and Cook hit us with clean and choppy guitar interlocking with a delicious sustained distorted sound. The solid drums and driving bass do exactly what you’d expect. Just over halfway through, after an unexpected and quite satisfying key change, we are treated to a powerful bass and drum interlude, before normal service is resumed, and the band continues to thump out to the end. Just when you thought you had this band’s style and genre sussed, the next 2 tracks stop you in your tracks. In “Bed For Bones”, the chaps show us that they know how to really rock. In your face guitar work, which often sounds very Iron Maidenesque and then some well-constructed and tight rhythms, where for a moment I think I am listening to Rage Against the Machine. This track has an abundance of styles and variety – it’s a love song…not a sing-along. It’s my favourite by far. “Up, Down, Labour, Conservative, A, B, Start” goes to the other end of the spectrum. It’s a real punk banger, bouncing along and politically charged. Less anthemic and catchy choruses than previous tracks, the band releases their angst through the music and vocals. ’History just repeats itself, but we just keep on letting it, we just keep on letting it’ – it’s a powerful message and let’s just hope that we do something about it. The closing track on the EP is “Pocket Full Of Flowers”, which was released as a single back in 2020. Vocalist Philip Cox said, “The song is about the naivety of love, and how focused we can be on it to cement our happiness…So, just as a token gift of a flower to a mother is put in a pocket to wilt away, a wedding ring can too end up in a sock draw wasting away. For the first time in my adult life, I felt like I could start again and build a new better version of me.” This track returns the EP to a more melodic and singalong style life as the punky and trembling vocals pack a mean punch on top of gritty guitars sitting perfectly with the full and round sound of Jackson’s drums. It’s a catchy number, energetic and melodic.

Fights & Fires will be hitting the road throughout February 2022, in support of the new EP, with remaining shows in Lincoln, Birmingham, London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Dundee – Tickets are on sale now.
See them live on the following dates:
February 2022
Fri 11th – LINCOLN – Akedo
Sat 12th – BIRMINGHAM – The Victoria
Sun 13th – LONDON – New Cross Inn
Thu 17th – GLASGOW – Bloc
Fri 18th – EDINBURGH – Banshee Labyrinth
Sat 19th – DUNDEE – Rad Apples

Written by Juan Brooks

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‘Bringing Down The House’ – Blues Attack January 11, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:42 pm
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Energetic and exciting funk/rock blues band Blues Attack released their impressive debut album, Bringing Down the House, back in November 2021. The 5 piece band from Istanbul takes us on a varied and powerful genre-spanning musical journey. Their sound is a kaleidoscope of smooth, melodic vocals; tight bass and drums; rhythmic guitar; Hammondesque keyboards, and a peppering of brass and soulful backing singers. The band is innovative and different from anyone I have heard before. Throughout the whole album, some of their diverse influences really stand out. Hints of Jack Bruce’s (Cream) soft and mellow vocal style, West Coast guitar work, and when they turn up the volume and rock, shades of Deep Purple fill the speakers. The band is made up of Sezen Köroğlu (keyboards), Tarkan Mumkule (guitars) and Batur Yurtsever (bass) who were already household names on the Istanbul live music circuit and had been playing together backing some of the top musicians and singers in Turkey. Prominent musicians in the Turkish blues scene, Güray Oskay (vocals, guitar, harmonica) and Hasan Ali Polat (drums) joined the other three in 2017 and the group was formed.

When the world shut down with Covid-19 restrictions in 2020, the band used that time to compose and record 10 original tracks featuring an eclectic collection of blues/rock to hip-shaking funk. They brought in the following guest musicians for the album: Serkan Emre Çiftçi (trumpet), Özgür Şengül (saxophone) Göksenin Tuncalı (backing vocals) Bengisu Öcal (backing vocals) Pelin Özülkü (backing vocals) Burak Ocakçı (harmonica). The opening track “Once and for All” delivers a steady bass line and solid uncomplicated drums with wah-wah tinged guitar riffs and breaks. With smooth and controlled vocals, Güray Oskay sings about taking back control of feelings after a relationship whilst the brass section and beautiful choppy Hammond organ alternates with the soulful backing singers. A clever nod to their Turkish roots is the use of quarter tones before the chorus, a pitch often heard in Eastern music. They are there but easy to miss. The clean guitar breaks sounding at times like Steely Dan or the Eagles, soulful and melodic, and tastefully done. One of the things so innovative about this band is the use of the keyboards, horns, and backing singers to create appealing and sophisticated musical layers.

More of a blues/rock feel follows with “In for the Kill”. Solid drumming and driving bass provide the rhythm for Oskay’s vocals about a dangerous woman who lures people into her lair. The track is laden with punchy guitar solos and a tight-knit brass section during the chorus. About halfway through the track, the layers are stripped back, and we experience a melodic sound of muted drums, bass, and funky keyboards. As the track draws to an end, the trumpet is given the wah-wah treatment. Reminding me of “Sivad” by Miles Davis, this unusual effect reinforces how creative Blues Attack are. “I Need Time” is one of the funkier tunes on the album, features a solid bass line, simple and powerful drums with syncopated guitar, and keyboard notes. The notable horn section blasts its way through this track, reaching a perfectly timed and placed crescendo during the chorus. The subtle saxophone together with the brass is reminiscent of Grand Funk Railroad. After another funky blues tune, “Long Gone”, comes the title track “Bringing Down the House”. The funkiest track of the album is fun to listen to, immediately danceable, and gets your toes tapping instantly. I can just imagine how this particular song goes down at a live gig. It perfectly combines a solid bass and drum rhythm with the much loved and tuneful brass/keyboard and backing vocals combo.

The next three tracks move away a little from this funk/rock blues concept, showcasing their talents in other genres. “Down a Winding Road” kicks off with jangly guitars and pop sounds. It’s melodic, uplifting, and soulful. Oskay’s vocals are clean, often sounding like the Lighthouse Family or that 80’s smooth and easy listening style. The pace slows right down with the next tune, “Little Isle”. Closing your eyes and listening to the sustained guitar sounds, delicate bass, and rimshots rather than a full-on snare drum, transports you to a tropical island where the lyrics tempt you to daydream. It’s slow blues with a sound not unlike Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”. “Country Joan” is an interesting next track. Its title suggests the band’s venture into country music and the beginning of it certainly gives you that impression. As the track builds the brass and sax section takes over and Oskay introduces a telephone mic effect to tell the story. The chorus reverts to a country style and a catchy chorus. The backing vocals sound like a steam train (or maybe that’s just me!) and the whole song makes me feel like I’m on a journey to the deep country, maybe somewhere like Texas. “Reaper On Wheels” is a blues/rock masterpiece. When Blues Attack really rock out and go for it, I hear Ian Gillan from Deep Purple when Oskay belts it out. It’s rocky, tuneful, and rhythmic. The album closes with “Trucker Blues”. A fitting end to this band’s debut album. An upbeat blues/rock piece that doesn’t fail to please. The harmonica makes an appearance towards the end together with some cleverly constructed guitar work. Blues Attack is a band to watch. This is their first album, and judging by the quality, innovation, and sheer energy, it won’t be their last. Maybe soon, after this gets back to some normality, they will tour internationally. I will be putting my name down to see them for sure.

Written by Juan Brooks

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“Where you been lately? There’s a new kid in town”

Filed under: Observation — justwilliam1959 @ 6:49 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Indeed there is a new kid in town, his name is Juan Brooks and he is the newest addition to the With Just A Hint Of Mayhem family. Juan joins me (Bill), Paul Bamlett, and Tom Ray. Over the last year, we have been a little slow with reviews and we plan to change that this year. Paul is currently working on a couple, as am I. Meanwhile, Juan has just written his first ever review and he said “It was a biggie…a whole album. Nothing like getting stuck in is there?” Anyway, look out for that review coming your way very soon! Greetings from the new Fab Four, we are looking forward to interacting with you dear readers! Click here to find out more about us!

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