Reviews roundup – Zoe vs. A Devil’s Din vs. Effie vs. DIMH Project vs. Blakshine
Not to be confused with the Sunshine on a Rainy Day Zoe, this Zoe (now to be called NTSOARDZoe) is an Austrian singer that you may recall from the Eurovision Song Contest earlier this year in Sweden.
That song was “Loin d’ici” because, yes, for some reason she sings all her songs in French. It’s probably due to spending nine years at the Lycée Français de Vienne. And it’s very much a chanson pop approach to all of her music, which will make Simone Molinari fans feel right at home. That was her second bash at Eurovision because it’s a serious business over there.
She’s also a proper musician with the album featuring all original material composed by Zoe and her Dad, bar one of the bonus tracks which is a stripped down, fiddle version of “Royals” by Lorde. Zoe herself is a good singer, although I would imagine “the kids” will probably find the homage feel to a lot of the songs a bit old fashioned. Me, I’m old so enjoyed it, although having three versions of her Eurovision song here tried my patience slightly.
She’s done well in her homeland and there is no reason why she shouldn’t have further successes in that there Europe even if French language isn’t a popular medium round these parts.
A DEVIL’S DIN
Island Dive Records
A good while on from their debut, and A Devil’s Din are back with their take on late sixties psych. And very good they are at it too. It’s that late sixties thing when psych was just about to take a left turn into prog, so it’s for Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd and gentle Giant fans.
They know how to right a good tune and once you add on the fuzzy bells and whistles it becomes an very enjoyable romp. They’ll be the first to admit their influences so there is no shame in being unreservedly retor, which is exactly what tunes like “”Skylight”, “Bow To Thee, Absurde” and “Eye’s Pie” promise and deliver.
They formed in Canada back in 2008 by English born multi-instrumentalist David Lines, and alongside Thomas Chollet on bass and drummer Dom Salameh, he’s made a mighty fine racket on this release. All they need is a big feature in Shindig! magazine, and the psych world is there for the taking.
Could You Be EP
It’s only a month or so since I heard “Pressure”, the last single by Effie, which channeled a Jess Glynne / Lorde / electropop vibe to good effect, And it’s back here, as the lead track to a four song EP from daughter of pop royalty, Effie.
It’s the best track here, as it has grown on me an awful lot over the last few weeks, although the title track runs it a close second, as it goes all moody with hints of nineties Nu Jack lurking in the background. Both those songs really showcase the strong vocals of Effie, and even if the other two are lesser tunes there is no doubting the strength behind her performance.
A UK pop/dance talent to keep an eye on.
Victim & Maker
The DIMH Project was formed back in 2014 by Maurizio Amato who takes care of vocals and bass player, as well as being the composer of all the music on offer.
He started life as a clarinet player, but it all went downhill when he discovered the likes of Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Whitesnake, and decided that it was the bass guitar for him. He played for a couple of decades in local bands around Modena, Italy, but it’s taken him till now to get round to writing and recording an album.
He’s linked up with Davide Montorsi (guitars), Enrico Varisco (Keyboards), who both play in the Michele Luppi Band, the current keyboard player / backing vocalist in Whitesnake, alongside a couple of drummers to make a retro sounding hard rock meeets melodic prog release. And it’s pretty good.
It gets off to a slow start, but when you reach the mid-section and tunes like “My Brightest Star” and “The Roundabout”, you do start to wish he’d got round to this a bit sooner. To be fair, I’d like to hear an A grade singer involved, but that aside, here’s hoping he has a few more good tunes up his sleeve.
Andy Dawson was 15 years old when he joined NOWBHM legends Savage back in 1978. Their ‘Loose ‘N Lethal’ album was a gem, although sadly by the time it was released the NWOBHM was fading away. But they had already been discovered by a young Lars Ulrich thanks to the ‘Scene of the Crime’ compilation album in 1981, which had “Let it Loose” in its grooves, and which featured on the Whiskey Audition Tape which got Metallica a gig opening for Saxon.
As with most NWOBHM bands they waxed, waned, reformed and split up over the years. But they’re still going with Dawson who formed Blakshine back in 2010. This, as the name suggests is their second album, and it’s a bit of a wee cracker if you have a yearning for some streamlined Audioslave styled modern hard rock.
He found himself a good singer in Rick Gilliat who can hit all the Cornell styled notes, while some hard and heavy riffs power away in the back. Songs like “World Get Ready”, “King of the World” and “Unbroken” grab you from the off, and it’s hard to believe that they’re not better known in the world of metal. Hopefully they can get some live shows and festivals under their belt, and get the word spread.