Reviews roundup – E.Z. Riders vs. Zoe vs. The Rising vs. Dhesia vs. Gun Machine

61mz4jjfqul-_ss500E.Z. RIDERS
Wishing Well
independent

Is it really three years since I last heard from the Experienced Zydeco Riders?  It appears so as it was 2013 when I heard ‘Try Hard…Or Die Hard’.  And I enjoyed it.

They’re back with more of the same, which is to say seventies blues rock with some country rock and Grateful Dead styled jamming.  The guitar work is uniformly excellent as they work their way through a set of American styled tunes with “The Firing Line”, “Heart on Fire” and “Leave You Behind” my early favourites.

It will go down best with blues rock fans who like a slight twist to their music.  It’s well played and presented and comes recommended.

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61jo1a1afpl-_ss500ZOE
Danse Avec Moi
Global Rockstar Music

Here’s Zoe from the Eurovision Song Contest who represented Austria earlier this year in Sweden.  Now we’ve already reviewed the deluxe version of her ‘Debut’ album but thought it worth mentioning this EP release as well.

It’s a three tracker with “Danse avec moi”, “Royals” and “Loin d’ici (Acoustic Version)” with the latter her Eurovision track.  It’s all still in her chanson pop style, a style she is very good at indeed.  The album was a real treat and so is this.  It’s still in that timeless tradition that endeared it to me the first time around and if you’ve been swithering over buying the album, then this is a good gateway release.

However, if you’ve already bought the deluxe version of her ‘Debut’ debut album then you’ll already have these but if you bought the original ‘Debut’ this is a good way to catch up.

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61phpblcepl-_ss500THE RISING
Last First Love
Renegade Maverick Records

Back when their album ‘Coming Home’ was released, I took some umbrage because they’d promised me some country rock and gave me some Bruce Springsteen.  I was not happy about that.

But now that I’ve been forewarned and forearmed, the Northern Irish band formerly known as Exit annoy me less.  It’s still the whole Brooooce meets REM and beats up Wilco in a dark alley vibe (actually if that happened, there would be no beatings, merely a pansexual round table discussion about their feelings).

And The Rising are also into talking about girly stuff on the lead single for their next album.  Yes, “Last First Love” isn’t about the time you discovered a doner pizza.  It’s about emotions.  Folk who like all the artists listed above should really be checking this out.

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51n3ydvmeol-_ss500DHESIA
Cracking Cocoon
PA74 Music

Some Italian symphonic conceptual rock now.

Tatiana Caponera is the brains behind the operation and has set about mixing classical, pop, electronic and rock elements into a greater whole.  And, by and large, that aim has been achieved.

It’s an introspective and slightly dark album which could benefit from a more widescreen production but as an indie effort it stands up well.  There are certainly a few tracks here which really stand out thanks to some clever arrangements of both music and vocals with the central trio of “Puppet Master”, “Prometheus” and “The Dawn of Darkness” real standouts.

Here’s hoping someone with a bit of cash to spare comes along and finances a follow-up.  Because there is a lot of talent here.

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512blrpajrpl-_ss500GUN MACHINE
Balls To The Wall
Santo Grial

Finally, for today, it’s off to Asturia in Spain and Gun Machine.  I once unloaded a pallet of ratchets at the docks in Gijon which makes me practically a native, so am well placed to have a listen to this.

They started up back in 2013 when Gabriel Fernandez and Antonio Araujo put the band together, eventually leading to a locally released EP and now this album.  Along with Hector Fernandez, Juan Azpiroz and Victor Gonzalez they’ve brought some diverse influences to the table and even if it is modern rock at its heart, there is something a wee bit different that makes it worth a listen.

So you’ll find a wee bit metal in there and some borderline prog arrangements, all of which lift songs like “Bad Memories”, “Change the World” and the title track up out of the ordinary.  For sure, I’d like them to try and expand on their experimental side, but as a debut album this stands up well.

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