Reviews roundup – Starling vs. The Blues Rebels vs. Kezia

STARLING Dream AgainSTARLING
Dream Again
Magpie Recordings

Right, where are we stariting today?  Seemingly, with some big, widescreen, indie pop rock.  You know, Keane, Editors, Keechplay, that sort of thing. But before you slope off muttering about having left the kettle on, you may want to pause.  Because Starlings are not rubbish.

For sure, indie pop rock is not our thing, either, but Starling are actually better than that.  Frontman Daniel James has a decent voice, and the rest of the band – keyboard player Vanessa James, drummer Craig Hendry (who played with Girls Aloud and, therefore, has hero status) and bass player Stevie “Sol” Soloman – know how to make a tune shine.

Granted, they are following a template, but their songs overcome the genre with numbers like ”Fall Down’ and ‘Fight Like You Mean It’ capable of holding their own against all comers.  There are a couple of meh moments in the mid section, but this is a band that deserve to be heard.

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THE BLUES REBELS Open RoadTHE BLUES REBELS
Open Road
independent

Israeli blues.  Well I suppose they’ve got a lot to be blue about.

So here are Andy Watts (guitars), Dov Hammer (vocals / harp), Avi Barak on drums and Amos Springer on bass proving that they are nothing of the sort.  Rebels, that is.  It’s the former two who run the show here, and what they lack in rebellion, they make up for in quality blues rock.

The opening number. ‘All I Want’ is one of their best as it boogies off in a Savoy Brown direction, while the more mainstream ‘Before The Jubilee’ will find a home on many a blues radio channel.  The best of the rockers is probably ‘Don’t Want You’.  They are capable of expanding their sound with some country and jazz licks kicking in hither an thither, which showcases some strong arrangements.

They’re all good musicians, with the moothie work particularly enjoyable.  And that’s before you realise just what a good guitarist Andy Watts is.  A very enjoyable blues rock release.

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KEZIA The Dirty AffairKEZIA
The Dirty Affair
logic(il)logic

Off to Italy now for some rather strange art rock / metal.  With knobs on.

Because Kezia really do seem to have thrown the kitchen sink into the blender to see what comes out the other end.  There’s prog, art rock, metal, synth pop and all sorts off rubbing up against each other.

Now when it’s shit, it’s really shit, but it when it works, it’s like a foot up the arse remind you why music is pure dead brilliant.  They could even have a hit single if ‘The Dirty Affair” (Between Pelican and Bear)’ got some airplay.  But it won’t, what with seemingly about a dirty affair between a pelican and a bear.

They’re all good musicians, which certainly helps when you’re being this adventurous, and the lyrics are always interesting.  None more so than in the tale of ‘Barabba Son’s Song’, a song about the son of Barraba.  You know, Barabbas from that there Bible who was freed instead of Jesus.  Although, seeing as how Barabbas was also called Jesus, it may have just been an administrative error.

One for the weirdos.

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