Reviews roundup – Lightnin’ Rod vs. The Cellar Dogs vs. Modern Bronze vs. The Skys
LIGHTNIN’ ROD & The Thunderbolts
Guilty Of The Blues
Memphis Blue Records
Hands down, that’s the best name for a blues band Ever! No lie. Even better, Mr Wilson, for it is he, has put together a top notch album for your blues entertainment. He’s been at it a wee while now, and alongside bassists Calvin Johnson, and Shannon Link; drummer/additional percussionist Roy Edmiston; Bob Hopps on keyboards and harmonica plus a horn section and some backing singers, this is a righteous noise.
If anything, it kind of reminds me of a soulful Allman Brothers band, mixing up blues, soul and some rock into a tasty stew. He can write a good tune as well, as the all original set more than proves.
Among the many highlights, I was particularly taken with the instrumental ‘Rooster In The Hen House’. That’s not to diss his vocals, because they’re really good. No, it’s just so downright funky. Elsewhere, ‘Midwest Boy’ is the best of the pure blues tunes, as he bigs up his home state. An excellent and enjoyable release.
THE CELLAR DOGS
Off to Greece now, that well-known hotbed of all things stoner and fuzzy. Of course, I think they’re younger than me, so I’d better add in desert rock to that list as well.
And they’ve made a fair fist of it, with more than a few nods to the likes of my beloved Atomic Bitchwax and less beloved Clutch, as they set about droning their way through some good tunes. They’re not all good, but when it all comes together on the likes of ‘Kalmotxo’ and ‘Knuckles, then it’s an enjoyable trip.
It edges close to metal hither and thither, so there is ample scope for riffing along, and off the back of this, I’ve got high hopes for whatever they get up to next.
A debut EP from the Los Angeles based Modern Bronze. Although the various members have been around the block a few times with the likes of Dead Day Revolution and Selma.
They claim to have a wide range of influences, citing Black Sabbath, Rush, Daft Punk and Portishead amongst many others, but what I’m hearing seems to be fairly mainstream post grunge, alt rock. Although they are very good at it, with some excellent vocals from Christina Fauth.
Considering they’ve only been together a few months, they’ve got a very unified sound, especially on the EP highlights ‘Damned If I Do’ and the title track. For sure, it wouldn’t be my go to sound, but fans of modern rock will find a lot to enjoy here.
Journey Through The Skies
And we’re back on our jet plane, for a flying visit to Lithuania, a country I previously thought of as next door to Ruritania, for some prog rock, courtesy of The Skys. It’s actually album mumber five for them, with a recording career going back to “Civilized” in 1997.
So they’ve got pedigree and they’ve also got form, if you’re looking for some atmospheric Pink Floyd sounds. It’s stately and melodic, and they’ve even managed to bag Pink Floyd sideman, Snowy White, for some tasty guitar work on ‘Should Stop Now’ and ‘Love Of Life’.
You’ll be glad to know that there is a loose concept running through the album, which deals with escapism, so you can tick that off your prog list. It’s beautifully presented as well, and goes to remind you that you can make a CD an object of desire. It’s one of the better prog albums I’ve heard this year, and should be near the top of any self-respecting progsters buy list.