Reviews roundup – Balkun Brothers vs. The Treatment vs. Soulstack vs. Broken Witt Rebels
Been a long time since I rock and rolled. Well, not that long seeing as how “ReDrova”, their last album only came out a year or so ago. That was a cracker, of which I said “If you’re looking for a new band to hitch your wagon to, the Balkun Brothers are just about as good as it gets.”
As always, I was right, and now they’re back with a Popa Chubby produced album, which should tell you exactly where they land on the blue rock spectrum. To wit, it rawks!
It’s high energy rock and roll, with some immense slide guitar work, as well as a vast array of high energy tunes, self penned with the exception of a romp through Johnny Winter’s ‘Mean Town Blues’. This is how we like our blues rock, and if anything, it’s even better than “ReDrova”. An essential listen if you like to stomp your feet and howl along.
Danny from The Script (as he is officially known) picked Michael Emms on The Voice series 2, when he got through to the live shows. That series was won by Andrea Begley which is all you need to know about the show.
Fast forward four years and he’s the new singer in The Treatment, a band that have been knocking about for a while without ever making the breakthrough. And that’s despite tours with Kiss, Motley Crue and Status Quo, as well as appearing at Download. So it’s probably make or break time, and there is a new guitarist on show as well.
Frontiers Records obviously have faith, and this third album is actually their best. It’s still retro rawk with an emphasis on eighties AC/DC. Which is always alright in my book. Mr Emms has a good set of pipes and handles himself well on the tunes, some of which are prime rockers. That includes ‘Let It Begin’ and ‘Cry Tough’, both of which are straight out of the top drawer, and well deserving of a wider audience.
It loses its way a little on a couple of tracks in the middle, but rallies well towards the end. It also sounds big, with Laurie Mansworth (More / Airrace) still producing (well his son is the drummer), and this should keep their flag flying a wee while longer.
Album number three from Soulstack sees them continuing in that early seventies blues tinged soul rock vibe that they’ve been purveying since they started. It’s the kind of thing that Boz Scaggs did back in the day, with a hint of Little Feat. So, it’s good.
Jon Knight on lead vocals and guitar, Chris Latta on guitar, Mark Wessenger on keys, Darryl ‘Harpo’ Peterson on bass and Tom Bona on drums are a mighty fine beat combo, and they certainly know how to create and control a vibe.
Apparently, this was recorded live to a classic 2” analog Studer tape machine, which will make some people go a little moist. Me, I don’t give a tinkers curse how it’s recorded, as long as it comes out the other end sounding like this. There are plenty of good tunes on offer, with ‘Just Don’t Call It The Blues’, ‘Tip Of My Tongue’ and ‘Can’t Take it With You’ currently top of my pops.
BROKEN WITT REBELS
It’s southern rock time! Yee and ha! Well, it’s south to me because they’re from Birmingham. England, not Alabama.
Danny Core (vocals/rhythm guitar), Luke Davis (vocals/bass), James Tranter (vocals/lead Guitar) and James Dudley (drums/percussion) are the people responsible for this rather enjoyable five track EP, and if the likes of Blackberry Smoke can break through, then there is no reason this homegrown bunch couldn’t do the same.
‘Low’ is the killer track, which manages to rawk out while remaining eminently accessible, which is a clever trick to pull off. But it’s not alone, as they have some good tunes under their hats. The one exception is the dire ‘Guns’, but we won’t go there. Instead we’ll concentrate on the splendid work they do elsewhere, and keep our fingers crossed for them.