Reviews roundup – Classical Reflection vs. Wet Ashes vs. Chased By Captives vs. The Dana Gaynor Band vs. The Cringe vs. Jetbone

CLASSICAL REFLECTION
The Vow
independent

Was anyone watching The Voice?  Hallo? Hallo?  I’m assuming the figure are now less than zero what with a convicted sex offender on the panel, but once upon a time that there Ricky out of that band that a hit.  You know, the Lily Allen one, not Rickaaay from Eastenders, picked identical twins sopranos Naomi and Hannah Moxon to be on his team.

Of course, they didn’t win, what with being classical sopranos, but they’ve carried on trying to forge a career, and this debut album proper is the result.  They’ve had a couple of singles and a Christmas record, but this is their proper crack at it.  And it’s very good.  After all, they can sing, and even if there is a lo-fi edge to some of the proceedings, they’ve tackled some good material, as well as some original songs.

So, if renditions of ‘Nella Fantasia’, ‘Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again’ and a revisit to their Voice battle song, ‘The Living Years’, which sees their opponent Emmanuel Nwamadi returning to the fray, sound like they will float your boat, then give it a go.  You’ll like it.

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WET ASHES
Acoustronic Tales
independent

Wet Ashes is a terrible name for a band.  They’re an alt rock band from Chicago based around singer/guitarist Angel Soto and Raul “Picho” Torres. For some strange reason they’re rather partial to that strange nineties NME world where Britpop and shoegazing were actual things.

Throw in some post punk riffs and you have the sound of a band made for college radio.  It left me stone cold, but there is definitely an audience out there for them.  A couple of the songs here are purpose-built for the indie rock crowd, with ‘Pupil Beats the Master’ and ‘Spot in the Sun’ crying out for a pudding bowl haircut and a long, black coat.

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CHASED BY CAPTIVES
Begin Again
independent

We’re still in the American colonies, this time to meet Chased By Captives, who have gone down the alt-metal route.  Now, as you well know, the addition of alt means they’re not really metal at all.  Just slightly louder mainstream rock.

But they’re good at what they do, and they’re another band who will fill that 3pm slot at a rock festival near you.  Again, their Shinedown influenced sound has a place on things like Kerrap! TV, and numbers like ‘Antidote’ and ‘The Plague’ will get many a young thing throwing some shapes on the school dance floor.

You also have to give props to guitarist, Matt Zuleger, who also produced this, because it sounds like a lot of money was thrown at it.

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THE DANA GAYNOR BAND
Power To The People
Euphoric Rebel Records

It’s jam band meets the blues now, and to give us that vibe, it takes a trip to Pennsylvania, home of the loveable Sylvanian Families, the former lead singer of Japan, and the Dana Gaynor Band.

New to me, but turns out that Dana Gaynor is a well-respected slide guitarist, who has teamed up with Tony Mancino, Frank Zelasny and Michael (The Pozz) Pozzbon, who between them have toured with members of the Grateful Dead, the Smithereens, and the Classics Four amongst others, while Dana has performed with Dan Hicks, Vassar Clements, Keith and Donna Godchaux, John Cipollina and countless others.

So they’ve got the pedigree and they’ve got the chops, which makes tunes like the title track, ‘Black Moon’ and ‘Good Time Feeling’ really spring to life.  Granted, the album is a bit overlong, and could have lost a couple of tracks along the way, but when something like ‘Rockabilly Billionaire’ bounces into earshot, you can’t help but enjoy.

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THE CRINGE
Blind Spot
Listen Records

Another terrible name for a band.  But they must be doing something right over in New York City, because they’ve got four other records under their belt.  It’s fairly down the middle, mainstream rock, but the band, led by John Cusimano on vocals and guitar have enough of an edge to make it worth a listen.

Which will be why they’ve opened shows for Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, Steel Panther, Cheap Trick, and Alter Bridge.  The record sounds really good, even before you get to the songs, and that’s down to a cracking production job from Don Gilmore.

Songs like ‘Whole Lotta Nothin’, ‘A Little More Sleep’ and ‘Don’t Know Where I Belong’ have a lot going for them, and with the right push and a bit of luck, should reach a wider audience.

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JETBONE
Magical Ride
Rootsy

Now, I’m not saying I’ve saved the best for last but, well, I have.  Because we’re in Sweden for some swaggering seventies styled hard rock.  And it’s good.

It took a few spins before I really got into it, largely down to the fact that both bass player Gustav Sjodin and guitarist Alin Riabouchkin have a bash at singing, but once it got me, it got me good.  Their take on the early seventies sounds of the Stones and the Faces (especially when the horns get honking) is downright righteous and blue.

It’s hard to pick favourites, but if I could only take three of my children onto the lifeboat, it would probably be ‘Mixed Emotions’, ‘Fifth Time Loser’ and the power ballad (ish) ‘Woman’.  It his had come out 40 years ago, you’d expect them to be opening for Foghat at the Chatanooga Coliseum for three nights in February but sadly we don’t live in that world anymore.

However, to hell with the present, let’s live in the past, and enjoy the rapture of the Jetbone.

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