Reviews roundup – Rock Goddess vs. Katie Doherty vs. Dennis Herrera vs. Mark Wingfield vs. Need2Destroy vs. Popa Chubby
Bite You To Death Records
Can it really be all those decades ago that I sighed and swooned over Julie Turner. And before you go all Yewtree on my ass we’re only a year apart in age. So do one.
That apart I was rather fond of the punchy melodic metal they put out. Of course that was based on two singles – ‘My Angel’ and ‘Heavy Metal Rock ‘n’ Roll’ – cos I certainly couldnae afford to buy albums back then. I saw them support Def Leppard(?) once and that was it. Booze, speed and girls got between us.
So I was surprised to hear a single from them a couple of months back. ‘Are You Ready?’ that was. And it was rather good especially as it sounded Exactly as I had remembered Rock Goddess back in the day. Which is what I want from bands making a comeback. I’m not interested in your new hygge influenced neo folk tunes. I Want Metal!
Granted, Rock Goddess were never going to be world beaters. But they were always a reliable, rock solid band and this new release does what you want. Melodic, riff driven metal with growly vocals and a handful of choruses that stick in the head. It’s a proper album. Ten songs, 40 minutes. As it should be. And with the aforementioned single, ‘Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right’ and ‘Why Do We Never Learn’ on repeat play it’s a job well done.
KATIE DOHERTY & The Navigators
It’s been a long time since Katie Doherty released a record what with her debut coming out way back in 2007.
But she’s been busy working on stage productions and whatnots so has only got around to a follow-up twelve years down the line. Has it been worth the wait? Of course not. Nothing is worth waiting 12 years for. Not even the circus coming back to town. But it is an exceptionally good album. It’s still basically folk music but with some great songs and adventurous arrangements showcasing her very listenable voice it’s folk music you’d go out of your way for.
There is some great instrumentation with the obligatory fiddle and mandolin well to the fore. But chuck in a sansula (nope, me neither) and there is always something interesting going on in the background while Ms Doherty gets on with the business of telling her tales. And they’re good ones whether it’s a straightforward declaration of love (‘Yours’) or a cello driven nostalgic tale like ‘Heartbeat Ballroom’.
If you wanted to hear one song to convince you then take a spin with the closing ‘We Burn’ which is as euphoric a song as you’re likely to hear. A good one.
You Stole My Heart
Prescott Kabin Records
You want to know how to steal my heart? Apart from bacon. Well kick off your album with some rollicking boogie woogie piano and a honking saxophone.
If Dennis wisnae already married to Denise (yes, really) I’d be chapping up his door.
And this is my kind of blues. Rollicking, good time, swing driven, old-timey, uplifting. Which is what non-blues fans often forget. Yes, there’s doom and gloom but as the blues is all about life the good stuff is there as well. Mr Herrera shows himself well able to bring all that to bear on a great set of originals. He can lift you up as he does on the title track and the funky ‘Takes Money’. But then he can take you right down there on the slow blues of ‘My Past Life’ which is not a place I normally want to visit. There’s some great harmonica and brass work across the record and the two different bands he’s used both really hit the mark.
It’s the kind of record that really does make you sit up and listen. A real treat.
Tales From The Dreaming City
Mark Wingfield likes to keep busy.
I enjoyed his “Proof Of Light” release and his collaborations as Wingfield Reuter Sirkis. But it’s time for another solo release and if adventurous, progressive fusion is your thing then you should stop reading now and order up a copy sharpish.
This time he’s brought drummer Asaf Sirkis back for more along with fretless bassist Yaron Stavi and keyboardist Dominique Vantomme to bring his music to life. And they do so in splendid fashion. Smarter folk than me will doubtless revel in words like soundscape and dynamics. Me? Well I know when something sounds damn good. And this does. I’m no technical whizz either but as the guitars leap from speaker to speaker as they work through compositions like ‘The Way to Hemingford Grey’ (A14 west from Felixstowe and north past Cambridge) you really do sit their with your jaw hanging open.
Away from the guitars of Wingfield the percussive work is remarkable with Sirkis getting every intonation bang on. It’s also one of those records that also stays firmly rooted in melody even when the proponents are setting off on another musical journey that seems to make no sense. But does. A jazz fusion record you should not ignore.
Yes. I fess. I was a teenage metalhead. And when metal takes a hold at that age it never really lets go. And anyone who says otherwise is either a liar or was only pretending first time around. So when I tell you that this record is “different” then I mean it.
Need2Destroy is a terrible name but the musicians responsible have certainly got an idiosyncratic approach to their metal. And by that I mean I had to double check I wasn’t listening to a compilation album by mistake. Ten tracks with 3 bonus numbers and I’d be hard pushed to line up two of then as being by the same band.
So there’s modern metal, prog metal, stoner metal, blastbeats and beyond. Sung in Spanish. Apart from the sweary words. Oh and did I mention the band are from Germany? To be fair Mr Google does tell me that one of the members is called Diego. It’s certainly interesting and worth a listen. And this is a band singing in Spanish about S’chokolade Mit Senf’ which my schoolboy German mentally translates as chocolate with mustard. Which has got to be worth taking a chance on.
Prime Cuts: The Very Best Of The Beast From The East
Ah, Popa Chubby. You always know where you are with a Popa Chubby record. Which is to say face down in a pool of beer in a basement bar wondering where your trousers are and why you’ve Big Dawg tattooed across your chest whilst listening to some sleazy, late night soulful blues.
So it’s odd that a best of album would start off with a few of his more melodic numbers. But once you get as far as ‘Stoop Down Baby’ and a dirty, greasy organ slides into play then things start to really kick off. Now he’s been at this for nigh on 30 years so narrowing things down for a best of must have been tricky. But he’s made a fair fist of this despite my tracking gripes.
To be fair, any record that has the sweet soulful vibes of ‘Sweet Goddess of Love and Beer’ is always going to be a winner, regardless of what else there is. But then you get the pure electrifying blues of ‘Grown Man Crying Blues’ and the previously unreleased hippity hop vibe of ‘Go Fuck Yourself’ with added violin (yes, really). Hell, he’s even thrown in a Christmas song for you. If you’ve ever wondered about Popa Chubby then now’s your chance.
St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton