Reviews roundup – Dan Patlansky vs. Ivor S.K. vs. Hot Hell Room vs. Carmyn vs. The Southern Companion
I was a bit late to the Patlansky party, so it’s only about 12 months since I heard “Dear Silence Thieves”, but it was a mighty fine introduction to his work. And now here’s “Introvertigo”, which should surely continue his upward trajectory.
The good news is that “Introvertigo” doesn’t herald an unexpected move into grime and dubstep. No, it’s pretty much exactly the same as went before. Which is, officially, a good thing. He kicks things off in fine rock style on ‘Run’, before he done gets the blues on ‘Poor Old John’. And from then on in, he smoothly moves between between the styles, with some like ‘Bet On Me’, even dabbling in pop.
Now I’m a grizzled old rocker, so am naturally drawn towards the likes of ‘Heartbeat’, which is as good a blues rocker as you’ll find. But I can also appreciate the more radio friendly numbers such as ‘Stop The Messin’. The lighter songs also show what a good musician he and his colleagues are. He’s also stuck with the same producer for this release, and Theo Crous has come up trumps with big, widescreen production sound.
Another superb offering from Mr Patlansky, which fans of modern blues rock should be lapping up on release.
From one colony to another, and we’re hopping the mail boat from South Africa to Australia, to catch up with young Ivor Simpson-Kennedy, who has obviously decided that a double barreled name isn’t very blues like, and has went down the Andrew W.K. route to success.
Now I don’t know whether he likes to party hard or not, but he certainly seems to have acquired a time machine, as his take on the blues is a stark and spectral one, which harks back to the days when people actually had the blues, rather than a post modern sense of inner blues. Which means it’s really good.
He’s got a great voice for the blues, and on this set of original material, he’s also got a feel for it. Add is some excellent guitar playing and some great songs like ‘Help Poor Me’ and ‘I Like The Way’, and you get the sense that this could be someone we hear a lot more of in the future. If you like your blues done the old fashioned way, them this EP is one you should hear.
HOT HELL ROOM
Architect Of Chaos
Off to French France now for some heavy metal. And it’s the third album from the amusing named Hot Hell Room. They’ve been on the go since 2005, so have got a handle on things, and are quite adept at blasting out some nineties styled metal.
So, if you’re young enough to think that Pantera are old, then this is probably going t sound good to you. They’re definitely looking over to the American colonies for their influences, and can certainly crank out a good riff on tunes like ‘No Perfect Flag’, ‘Despise’ and ‘Book of Regrets’.
They’re also no stranger to a melody, so it’s not all crash, bang, wallop, although they sometimes veer in a desert rock direction. Not all the songs are out of the top drawer, but there is enough quality here to merit investigating some downloads.
Much to my chagrin, and to the detriment of my bowel, we’re staying in France for our next offering, which is the debut EP from Carmyn. She’s one of these all rounders who is also a dancer and a jewellery designer, but this sees her heading off into the world of hard rock.
And it’s OK. There is certainly some potential here, as she looks back to the gory days of seventies and eighties hard rock, with some melodies cribbed from the world of AOR. Thing is, it sounds more like a demo than it does the finished article, which is a bitg of a shame, as songs like ‘Betrayal’ and ‘Disposable Love’ have strong enough riffs to merit listening to.
Carmyn herself has a strong, soulful voice, and with a decent production, she could make a name for herself.
THE SOUTHERN COMPANION
1000 Days Of Rain
Those of a certain age may well have seen Darren Hodson and his Southern Companion, as he’s been opening the show for Lulu on her British tour. And given her fondness for rootsy music (and if you don’t have her “New Routes” album, you’re a fool), it makes a little but of sense.
Of course, it helps that he’s currently playing guitar in her band, but what’s the point of power if you can’t abuse it. Turns out that Mr Hodson was in bands years ago, before jacking it in. But the urge was too strong, and realising that the UK had swung in the direction of modern country / Americana decided to give it another bashm, what with his influences covering the likes of The Black Crowes, The Allman Brothers, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Ryan Adams and others.
Now I don’t hear much of the first two, but I can see how the latter have come into play on this album. Certainly, the introspective side of things is very much to the fore, as he tackles themes of love, emotion and mortality. It’s certainly as good as anything else in this genre right now, and with a very listenable voice, and strong musicality, he may well tap into the zeitgeist.
He rarely gets out of second gear, instead concentrating on feel and emotion, and there is a strong set of songs here. ‘Letting You Go’, ‘Dead Man Walking’ and ‘The Leaving Kind’ all get you hitting the repeat button, and there are even a couple of songs here that would sit comfortably on modern Radio 2. Try ‘Waiting On A Corner and ‘Crash’. It’s more for the Mojo crowd than the out and out country fans, but it’s certainly worth a listen.