Reviews roundup – Bad Touch vs. Mark Crissinger vs. Sepoy vs. Emberent vs. Shadyhawk
Truth Be Told
Bad Touch are the latest in a long line of British rock bands who really, really want to be American. Their first album showed their southern rock meets the Black Crowes and the Faces having a pagger down the alley to great effect and this second one is even better.
It’s everything I like in a record. The blues and boogie with some vintage hard rock, a bit of swagger and some great vocals and riffs. Bad Touch have got it down pat so well done Stevie Westwood (lead vocals); Rob Glendinning (lead guitar, acoustic guitar); George Drewry (drums, keyboards, backing vocals); Michael Bailey (bass guitar); Daniel Seekings (guitars, backing vocals).
This one had got two singles attached to it “99%” and “Made To Break” which have both been remixed by Rolling Stones engineer and co-producer Chris Kimsey for some added street cred but bearing in mind how good the other songs are they really didn’t need it.
Songs like “One More Night” and “Heartbreaker, Soulshaker” are absolutely fantastic and in a just world Bad Touch would be huge. Even when they slow things down for some seventies Whitesnake as they do on “Take Your Time” they hit the bullseye.
A hands down, no messing, cracker of an album. Buy it.
The Canadian colonies now and the fifth solo album from well known (over there) blues musician Mark Crissinger.
He’s put together a red hot band for this offering with the Juno nominated rhythm section of Bill Hicks and Jay Stevens augmenting long time band members Dan Dube and Marty Howe as well as some special guests. And they do a bang up job.
He started life as a singer/songwriter and he’s brought that to his take on the blues. So there are some confessional moments here as well as the blues rockers such as “Poor Boy Blues”, “The Sunday Blues” and “Cedar Shuffle”.
He also comes close to out and out hard rock on “Wild Wind Fever” as well as some country rock on “Holding My Heart”. But wherever he finds his groove you can be sure it’s high quality stuff. A good one.
The American secessionists are up next and one would assume from the name of the band and the names of the band members that they are of Indian descent. And that’s proper Indian not Red Indian. (Ed. are we allowed to say that or will we get done for a hate crime. Check with legal).
Sepy however are very much a modern alternative rock band with a few prog influences who would dearly like to get themselves some Radiohead type action. Which completely passes my by. So songs like “Back To You” just wash over me.
But when they get a bit more adventurous and ramp up their Porcupine Tree and Tool influences then things get a lot more interesting. So I was taken with songs like “Reno” and “Empty Cage” which give every indication of a band with a lot of talent who’re slightly unsure of their direction. More of the latter and I’ll be back.
We’re still in the United States but this time we’re getting some Connecticut metal courtesy of Emberent. They’re a relatively new band having got together back in 2014 but the various members do have previous form with an array of local bands.
Their mantra proclaims them to be blending the dividing lines that split metal music into so many sub-genres. And by that they mean fairly straight down the middle modern metal with a few grunge influences and some southern style groove metal.
And Jeff Fancher (Drums), Jay Ward (Bass), Jim Ransom (Lead Guitar) and Adam Costa (Vocals) are certainly good musicians so make a fair fist of bringing songs like “Warrior”, “Ragnarok” and “Berserker” to life. But it needs a stronger production to really shine up the better tunes and with a couple of misses this would have made for a much more enjoyable EP.
Portraits Of Strangers
Shadyhawk from just outside of Buffalo, New York big up their sound as Southern Grunge Rock influenced by bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and Soundgarden.
Now I’m no fan of grunge but I do love me some southern rock so I came here with a degree of anticipation. It’s the second album for Shadyhawk since the project was formed by singer and guitarist George Allen Davis with ‘Heed Where The Rebels Go’ preceding this in 2014.
Shame then that to my aged ears it sounds like modern alternative rock with some grunge riffs. I certainly didn’t pick up on the southern influences. It’s actually a pretty decent offering if you come in here with your nineties grunge antenna on and if you do you’ll take pleasure from the title track, “Under the Moon” and “All That It Takes”. Just don’t turn up with a hell yeah and a bottle of Old Grandad.