Reviews roundup – Olio vs. Gilmore & Roberts vs. Blurred Vision

OLIO UntitledOLIO
Untitled
Ad4 Records

Rule number one for unknown bands.  Don’t have a mysterious cover with no name on it.  It gets you put to the bottom of the pile.  You’re not Led Zeppelin.

Anyway, now they’ve emerged from the bottom of the box, it turns out that this Los Angeles band are rather partial to a bit of seventies pop funk.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  After all, it didn’t do Earth, Wind & Fire any harm, back in the day.

And back in the day is most definitely where this album lies.  There are some tunes here which would have gone down a treat on a Saturday night at the Whitburn Miners Glitzorama Boogie Down Disco in 1977.  Top of the poppermost are ‘Caught It Up’, ‘Boom’ and ‘Dance’.  The slower tunes don’t work as well as the dance numbers, but if you want to get down and boogie, give them a try.

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GILMORE & ROBERTS Conflict TourismGILMORE & ROBERTS
Conflict Tourism
GR Records

It’s been a while since I listened to Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts.  In fact, it was their debut “Shadows & Half Light”, way back when.  Now they’re on to album number four, and it’s nice to see that they’re still making good records.

Of course, they seem to have taken a sideways step from the more mainstream sounds of yore, so this is very much modern folk.  There are some hard edges that traditionalists might find hard to swallow, but there is no doubting the quality of the material on offer.

Across the eleven original songs, they go from folk rock to indie rock and back again, with a twist of country and trad thrown in for good measure.  They’ve an excellent band, and some well chosen guests, but it’s mainly about the songs and the harmonies, which are uniformly excellent.

Me, I’m old fashioned, so it was ‘Jack O Lantern’ and ‘Ghost of a Ring’ that stuck out first time around, and have stayed with me through a few plays.  But it’s easy to see why they’re so well thought of, and if they’re trying to woo a younger crowd than the mainstream folk world offers, then they’re going the right way about it.

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BLURRED VISION Organized InsanityBLURRED VISION
Organized Insanity
Openeyes Records

Canada now, for some prog rock.  Well, melodic prog rock with some mainstream rock on top of it.

Seems they became known after a remake of Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick In The Wall’, calling it however ‘Hey Ayatollah, Leave Those Kids Alone’.  Roger Waters liked them, so that helped their profile.

Led by founders, Iranian brothers Sohl (bass guitar) and Sepp (vocals, guitar) Osley, they’ve certainly done a good job on this record, mixing up prog, modern and classic rock, something that folks who saw them opening for Uriah Heep will appreciate.

Granted, not everything is out of the top drawer, with ‘Dear John’ genuinely unlistenable.  But when they hit their stride as they do on ‘No More War’ and ”The Keeper’, it’s well worth listening to.  The latter, especially, inspired by the Persian poet Hafez and with a first verse sung in Persian is a real highlight.

It also sounds great, which isn’t a huge surprise considering it was produced by Terry Brown.  Yes, that Terry Brown.  It is a wee bit schizophrenic as the styles chop and change a lot, but as a debut marker, it’s a good one.

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