Reviews roundup – Matt Andersen vs. Rainbreakers vs. Le Seul Element vs. Ape Shifter vs. Pyogenesis
It’s over a decade no since I first encountered Matt Andersen and drooled over his acoustic and electric blues albums. He has an amazing voice and I often wondered why the artist formerly known as Stubby Fingers wasn’t better known.
But he’s never stopped touring and he’s on a handful of awards both in Europe and in his native Canada and here he is with a brand new record. And it’s, um, different. He headed off to New York to work with producer Commissioner Gordon (Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse, KRS-One) and they’ve certainly come up with a different take on his blues.
Now I’m all in favour of someone trying to reach out to a wider audience but am I fan of loops and beats in my blues? No. So it’s when he sticks to the basics that I warm to this the most. The big ballad, “I’m Giving In,” is one of his best but for someone like me who still spins ‘Second Time Around’ on a regular basis, the move into pop and and soul is a bit too far.
That said, nothing can take away from the remarkable voice of Andersen and if this is what to takes for him to break out then good luck to him. After all, his hard work over the years deserves a seat with the grown ups.
A four piece band from Shrewsbury, this is the second EP from the Rainbreakers [Ben Edwards (vocals/rhythm guitar), Charlie Richards (lead guitar), Peter Adams (bass) and Sam Edwards (drums)] who’ve been busy touring up and down the toilets of the UK.
Some have labelled them a blues band but bar ome blues guitar I’m not really getting that. They’re more a seventies classic rock band meets late sixties psych than anything else. In Ben Edwards they’ve got a great singer and they’re pretty hot on the songwriting front as well.
They can be soulful, they can be poppy and they can even rock a bit as they do on”Living Free”. Given some airplay there is also no reason why the title track couldn’t even prove to be a hit. Of course that assumes that good, melodic music has a place on the radio nowadays.
A band to keep an eye on, this lot could break out given half a chance.
LE SEUL ELEMENT
Oh blimey! French experimentalism. I think I’m having one of my turns.
So what we have we got here then. Some darkwave, some horror soundtracks, a bit of out and out noise and some ambience. Sounds like the sort of thing that will get fans of electronic experiments ever so slightly moist.
The protagonist has been around a while working on other projects but this is a solo debut although there is room for a guest slot from Lynette Cerezo from French darkwavers Bestial Mouths. Some of it is more palatable than others to the casual passer by including “Mersey Mad Beat” which has been placed on a forthcoming horror film called “Devil’s Domain.”
I was also quite partial to the more generic goth of “Rien N’est Beau Comme On L’imagine” which would certainly suit a late night seance. There is a lot to appeal here to goths from the left field.
Guitarist Jeff Aug likes to get around. He’s done rock, he’s done punk, acoustic, guested with Atari Teenage Riot and got into the Guinness book of world records. And now he’s gone prog.
Sort of. This is being billed as an instrumental prog album but it shares a lot of DNA with fret wizards like Joe Satriani, Tony MacAlpine and Steve Vai. So it’s definitely one for the widdlers out there.
It’s also on the heavy side with some chunky seventies styled riffs in there. As with all instrumental albums the casual listener may find eleven tracks a few too many but fans of the genre will really take to the music on offer. “Desert Rock”, “Hot Rod” and “Dead Tuna Boogie” certainly rocked my world and they should do yours too.
A Kingdom To Disappear
German metallers have been on the go now for decades. And they’ve worked their way through a few genres before ending up here.
Back then they were a death metal band but since then band leader Flo V. Schwarz has lead his band through goth metal, alt metal, pop metal and beyond. Then they vanished before making a surprise comeback in 2015.
This is the second release since the regenesis of Pyogenesis and it’s an enjoyable outing. It’s definitely heavy metal with some death metal riffs and splutters hither and thither allied to a more true metal meets power metal sound. All that leads to a degree of excitement when you encounter a mammoth tune like “Blaze by Northern Flame”.
As with the Pyogenesis of old, though, it’s a lack of consistency that stops a good album being a great lbum. However, the guitars are uniformly excellent with Gizz Butt now firmly ensconsed in the band. It’s certainly worth a listen although I suspect you will want to try before you buy.