Reviews roundup – Robin Trower vs. Mirrorplain vs. Jess and the Bandits vs. Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls

51v3be2t5alROBIN TROWER
Time And Emotion
Manhaton

I’m a bit late to the party with this one but then your wife dying does kind of knock things aside. As Mr Trower will know.

But he’s carried on with this music and has punted out an album per year since then. “Where You Are Going To” was a particularly reflective release. At least the lyrics were, in between his trademark blues rock sounds. And “Time And Emotion” carries on in a similar vein.

For sure, he can still rock out with the best of them and throw in tasty blues rooted solos all over the place but the septuagenarian musician opens up on songs like ‘What Was I Really Worth To You’, ‘You’re The One’ and ‘Can’t Turn Back The Clock’. But if you’re looking for the fiery blues power of old then you’ll only need to clap ears to the opening ‘The Land of Plenty’ to realise that Mr Trower still has plenty of musical lead in his pencil. He’s still operating in his power trio format with some additional keyboards hither and thither and “Time And Emotion” is probably the best of his late blooming releases.

He’s playing a one off show at Islington Assembly Hall on the 29th November so all you lucky Lahndahners should pawn your pearly jackets and get a ticket sharpish.

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81nica3yitl-_sl1200_MIRRORPLAIN
Path Of Salvation
Fastball

To Germany now for some modern alt-metal, courtesy of Mirrorplain.

They’ve had a couple of EPs out prior to this and it looks as though they were struggling to get a whole album out as this only has eight tracks (plus 1 bonus song, which makes no sense). And they’re OK at what they do. Thing is I’m struggling to get to grips with who they really are. There’s a lack of identity about the band which means the decent songs struggle to make a really strong impact.

Christian Döring – vocals, rhythm guitar, Jeremy Vollmert – lead guitar, vocals, Sascha Drendel – bass, Kevin Ax – keys and Nikolas “Uli” Hoffmann – drums, vocals are all good at what they do and on the better songs like ‘Fortune’ and ‘Salvation’ you get a glimpse that they might have a future. There’s just not enough of it at the moment.

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51mwjmqgoxlJESS AND THE BANDITS
Smoke & Mirrors
Absolute

Following on from their recent single which had me banging my head against the wall at their lack of recognition is the latest album from US/UK country combo Jess and the Bandits.

And it’s a really good album. Seriously. When I look at some of the tosh that gets drooled over in the UK country press and the lack of love for JATB I just want to slap some people upside the head. What is it? Don’t you like good songs and great performances? Eejits.

It’s modern country without overdoing the pop and numbers like ‘I’m Not Going Home’, ‘Sister’ and ‘Start A War’ are as good as it’s going to get in country music this year so reove your cloth ears and get buying this sharpish. For sure, a couple of songs don’t quite make the grade but pound for pound this is one of the best country records of the year.

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81cw3brxjll-_sl1200_MILES HUNT & ERICA NOCKALLS
We Came Here To Work
Good Deeds

It’s been a while since we’ve had a record from this pair, Erica Nockalls and the bloke forever to be known as Miles Hunt from the Wonder Stuff.

What you’re getting isn’t that different from what he was up to back in the day. Just less noisy and with more acoustic instrumentation. So indie pop/rock with a side portion of introspection. It’s nice enough without ever tipping over into the realms of the essential.

When the songs come together there are some rather splendid words on offer and numbers like ‘When The Currency Was Youth’ and ‘Waste Some Time With Me’ had me nodding my head gently in appreciation. The two of them have just started on a very lengthy tour which runs through to the 29th October so Wonder Stuff fans who’ve got that wee bit long in the tooth should get themselves down.

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St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton
http://linda.hamilton.muchloved.com/
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