Reviews roundup – Buckshot Amber vs. MGM vs. Ben Craven vs. Miss Rabbit vs. The Lunar Effect

51b0b8yn7-l-_ss280BUCKSHOT AMBER
Cherry Queen
Ravensden

We’re starting off today in Bray, Co. Wicklow, over in that there Ireland, land of my fathers. Well, my mothers father anyway.  And what Buckshot Amber are, is blues rock band, with some seventies guitar rock influences.  So, basically, the new Answer.  But that’s being a wee bit cruel, because Kevin Quinn – Vocals, Niall O’Leary – Lead guitar, Daniel Phelan – Rhythm guitar, Ambrose Bourke -Bass and Martin Killeen – Drums have also got some more modern sounds in their arsenal.

They’ve been in other bands, but with Buckshot Amber, they’re concentrating on honing some promising original material, which looks back to the early seventies, when Cactus were riffing hard, as well as bringing in some youthful Wolfmother styled swagger.

This is a four song EP and, to their credit, there isn’t a bum tune to be found as they work theur way through ‘She’s Too Bad’, ‘Sexy Moma’, ‘Cherry Queen’ and ‘Dreamcatcher’.  The production lets it down a wee bit, but based on this, there are going to be lots of people wanting to hear Buckshot Amber.

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61knqv9bixl-_ss280MGM
Sunny Days Gone By
independent

And we’re sticking in the early seventies for our next one, but we’re relocating from Ireland to Italy, where the Lazio band MGM (who may want to reconsider that name) are punting out their version of that early seventies rawk sound.

They also dip back into the sixties, which explains the sole cover.  And that’s a rather good version of ‘Inside Looking Out’, as done by the Animals back in 1966.  There are some fine originals as well, with ‘Magic Highway’, the kind of thing that would make Captain Beyond fans very happy indeed.  In fact, the album is blessed with some fine Hammond sounds throughout.

Elsewhere, songs like ‘Sometimes’ and the title track move along with some fine grooves and performances, on an album well worth a listen.

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61nf87eblsl-_ss280BEN CRAVEN
Last Chance To Hear
Desert Comb Music

Australia now for some seventies(!) tinged melodic prog rock.  The kind of thing that Dave Gilmour siding Pink Floyd fans will take to.  And in case that isn’t enough for you, it comes with some added Star Trek!

Still not convinced?  Well, Billy Sherwood from Yes pops in as well to help record William Shatner as he adds some of his essential vocal stylings to ‘Spy in the Sky, Part 3’.  Apparently “Last Chance To Hear” is loosely inspired by the end of the music industry as we know it. Or so says Mr Craven, a man inspired by Pink Floyd, Mike Oldfield, Yes and King Crimson, as well as classically inspired cinematic sounds.

This is his third album, and it’s a cracker.  There is some fabulous guitar work on numbers like ‘Spy in the Sky, Part 1’ and ‘Critical Mass, Part 1’, and the cinematic influences come to the fore on ‘Revenge of Dr Komodo’. An external producer might have buffed it up a bit, but as modern prog goes, this is good, good stuff.  If you hunt down a CD, then you’ll find it’s also splendidly packaged, with a bonus DVD featuring Mr Craven behind the scenes of the album, along with some music videos.

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518l8qb-iil-_ss280MISS RABBIT
Tales From The Burrow
independent

Switzerland now, and the second album from the Swiss girl band, Miss Rabbit.  Note, that’s girl band, not girl group, because Miss Rabbit are more Runaways than Spice Girls. I’m also reasonably sure they’re being a bit mucky with their (and the album) name, but I’m an innocent wee scone, so we’ll let that slide.

Which means you’re getting some garage styled indie rock, with a few nods towards the world of metal and punk.  The band comrpise Angela, Fabienne and Melanie, who’re augmented live by a two bloke rhythm section, and they do a fair enough job.

They’re musically competent, and have bags of energy and attitude.  Shame them, that the songs too often let the side down, as a lot of the tunes are fairly generic, which means they don’t stick in the brain for very long. They seem to be angry about a lot of things on songs like ‘Disaffection’, and it’s the kind of thing geared towards teenagers looking for something to get upset about.  Thankfully, those days are long behind me.

However, if there any teenage girls out there, who’ve wandered in by mistake, and who’re  having a really Scheiß day, and they’re in need of someone to articulate their youthful angst, then come on in.

http://www.missrabbit.ch/

a4286950788_10THE LUNAR EFFECT
Strange Lands
independent

Back home to Her Majestys Great Britain, and we’re finishing the day with a four piece psychedelic rock band from London and Hertfordshire.  As you do.

Although, I would have pushed them over to the left a bit, as there seems to be an awful lot of stoner and desert rock in the mix as well.  Which is fine by me, as I’m prone to bouts of Atomic Bitchwax when I let my guard down.

Turns out that The Lunar Effect was originally a solo project of ex DeepSeaGreen guitarist Jon Jefford (nope, me neither).  However, they’d put out three records, so he knew his way about a studio, leading to a solo debut.  That went well, so he set about getting a touring band together, which in turn led to this latest release.

There are some great riffs sprinkled about, which lead me to my second Cactus comparison of the day, and they certainly know how to rawk on tunes like ‘A Ballad for the Tin Man’ and ‘So Far Gone’.  There’s oodles of fuzz, a few prog influenced mid-sections and some interesting arrangements.  Definitely one for the Pentagram meets Deep Purple Mk 1 crowd.

https://thelunareffect.bandcamp.com/

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