Reviews roundup – Jared James Nichols vs. Harold Mike Sizemore vs. Genetics (Dianetics) v. Kes vs. The Boomtown Rats
JARED JAMES NICHOLS
Old Glory & The Wild Revival
Oh, but he’s a hairy lad, isn’t he. And quite pretty in an 80’s John Sykes kind of way. If only he’d been around when glam metal was the in-thing, his poster would have adorned a thousand bedroom walls. Not mine, though. I was never confused.
But what JJ is doing, is monstrous blues rock in a Pride & Glory kind of way. Which is, of course, right up my street. Because he can riff, he can sing, and he can moan the blues. This is his debut album, although he has previously released an EP and toured with the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd. And now he’s coming to get us, with this album and an autumn tour supporting Glenn Hughes.
He’s operating in power trio mode, alongside Erik Sandin on bass and Dennis Holm on drums, and they make an almighty racket when they need to. But they can rein it in, and unlike some, he doesn’t go overboard on lengthy and unnecessary guitar solos. He doesn’t really put a foot wrong, and songs like the title track, ‘All Your Pain’, and the almost country blues of ‘Take My Hand’ will become your new best friends.
Things are rounded off with two live bonus songs, ‘You Won’t Last’ and ‘Playin’ For Keeps’, both recorded live at the Viper Room. A real treat.
HAROLD MIKE SIZEMORE
That Old Man ‘n’ Me
Blimey, someone else who thinks that two names aren’t enough. But unlike the blues rock up above, this is rootsy, introspective Americana. And it’s a concept (ish) album.
Mr Sizemore has spent the last five years putting together a song cycle about his father, and the relationship he had with him, following the death of his father in 2009. Now my Dad died when I was still at the school, so I only have vague memories of him, so it must be a comforting feeling to be able to put down in words and music how you feel about your father.
And he has a good way with a lyric and a melody, which is as much akin to the singer / songwriters of the early seventies, as it is anything else. There’s certainly a handful of tunes well worth your attention, with the best being ‘Hell for Certain’, ‘Think About Memphis’ and ‘Driving Drunk’, all of them topped off with a very listenable voice.
Australian instrumental prog rock alert! From the band formerly known as Dianetics. Now I’m saying that some scary Scientologist put a move on them, necessitating a name change. No, because I’m sure their monster (yet miniscule) computer, concealed in Tom Cruises built up heels could track me down in an instant. They might get away with it, what with living on a mythical continent, but I’m not taking the chance.
So, Genetics, it is. The baby of Samuel Joseph and Shane Leadbeater from the University of Western Sydney, who were looking for something to do in the holidays. So they embarked upon some art rock meets prog rock meets goodness knows what rock. It’s very clever and full of all those difficult passages that progsters love.
Which means there are a lot of people out there who are going to be taken with the likes of ‘Body Thetans’, ‘Evolutionary Level’ and ‘Man Made Utopia’, especially when it tips over into the world of prog metal.
Blimey, you wait months for an instrumental prog rock album, and then two come along at once. Mind you, this one has come from Istanbul (not Constantinople), and are a trio who, surprise, surprise, met at university.
Guitarist Emre Kula, bassist, Cenk Turanli and drummer Mehmet Demirdelen bonded over a love of Meshuggah, Metallica and Tool, and have now put together a riff heavy prog metal offering, that will certainly please fans of the former and latter.
Some of the guitar work is quite bruising, but they’re also capable of taking you off into a quiet, psychedelic corner before beating you about the head. There is a lot to enjoy on tunes like ‘Dort’, ‘Kasik’ and ‘Nevroz’, so despite the cover art, this is something the prog metallers amongst you should be checking out.
THE BOOMTOWN RATS
Live In Germany 78 CD/DVD
Oh, that’s just cruel and heartless. The second worst band of all time (after The Selector). And it’s a DVD and a CD. Twice the pain.
Now I know he’s a saint these days, but back in the days of the Boomtown Rats, he came across as sneering, supercilious and with an unfounded belief that his band were, somehow, good. They weren’t. Well, ‘Rat Trap’ was quite amusing for about five minutes, but in terms of their place in musical history, they should be a couple of places below the Goombay Dance Band. And time hasn’t been kind to them, so they may have slipped a few places since then.
And if you don’t believe me, then take a look and listen to this. It seems to be some kind of made for TV concert for German television and, judging by the audience response, I think they were actually expecting the aforementioned Goombay Dance Band. But that doesn’t stop Geldof swaggering around the stage, as if he were Mick Jagger reincarnated. Sans the hips and the talent.
But if you were one of those poor, deluded fools who gave them a second division career for a few years, including their unlikely run to the cup final, then you may find some merit in this. Or get a rude awakening.