Reviews roundup – Sister Lucille ~ Pigeons Playing Ping Pong ~ Rockolith ~ Underhander ~ The Vibes
Endless Blues Records
The first couple of tracks here didn’t do much for me. But once ‘See My Baby’ kicked in, it all started to make sense. And I ended up really enjoying this.
The Sister Lucille band are from Missouri and the mainstays – Kimberly Dill ( Lead Vocals) and Jamie Holdren (Guitar & Vocals) have been working together for nigh on 20 years. Now along with Kevin Lyons (Drums) and Eric Guinn (Bass) they’ve turned in an excellent set of funky, soulful blues rock.
It’s mainly originals bar a couple of songs originally brought to light by Ann Peebles and Etta James and it says a lot for Ms Dill that she handles them with ease, especially the sprightly ’99 Pounds’. They’re aided and abetted by a horn section on a handful of tunes and they really help bring the songs to life. I’m also very keen on the duets between Dill and Holdren with ‘Think About You’ a real highlight.
On repeated plays the first two songs got better so I reckon it’s a combination of my ears and track sequencing because this is a highly recommended release.
PIGEONS PLAYING PING PONG
Really? That was the name you came up with. I’m guessing that one bong too many at a String Cheese Incident marathon may have had something to do with it.
Remarkably, it’s the fifth album for the decade old band who fall very easily into the all encompassing phrase “jam band”. Something that strikes fear into the heart of many a listener. But I’m made of hardier stuff. I’ve seen Phish twice and am here to tell the tale.
To their credit they have a poppy, funky side to their songs that is rather engaging and anyone who can write a song about how King Kong is a funky monkey has my respect. It’s no ‘Funky Gibbon’ but what is. They actually seem like a band who’re enjoying themselves which is surprisingly rare in the modern world.
I don’t know if college radio is still a thing over there in the American colonies but if it is then ‘Dawn A New Day’ would be guaranteed repeat plays. It’s incredibly commercial. They get to exercise their jam skills on instrumentals like ‘Avalanche’ and the couple of tunes that benefit from some horns are especially listenable. Generally they’re quite happy to avoid serious subjects, lyrically, and I for one, am quite happy to forget about the world for an hour in the company of Px4. Odd but good odd.
Hot Summer Dreams
Eighties indie pop, anyone?
Well actually, indie pop crossed with Paisley underground. You must remember? Green on Red, Thin White Rope. That sort of thing.
I suppose the nearest mainstream band to that sort of sound would have been REM but they were neither psychedelic enough or garagey enough to qualify. But that’s what Rockolith are offering up.
And it was only after writing the above that I looked at the small print on this release and saw that it was actually recorded in 1991. Which makes an awful lot of sense. I’d thought it was a new release playing homage but turns out they were there.
If new wave meets Paisley underground is your thing then songs like ‘Broken Wheels’ and ‘I Don’t Really Know It All’ will probably be up your street but the youngsters with their ears attuned to modern recording techniques may have trouble with the biscuit tin drums. A curio from a time long gone.
Persona non Grata
Hmm. I’m not sure that Underhander know who they want to be.
At times they sound like a lo-fi shouty punk band. Then they go a bit Dub War. Then a bit post grunge. It’s all very confusing.
Things aren’t helped by a really muddy production. Which just goes to show that having released a lot of albums doesn’t make you a great producer. Take a bow, Billy Graziadei of Biohazard. Assuming Biohazard is still a thing.
There’s a lot of downtuned guitars here which will please people of a certain vintage and there are some really good songs. Their Dub War tribute ‘Step Into The Ring’ is really good and when they follow Benji into Skindred territory (‘Bull By The Horns’) then that works really well as well. There is potential here. It just needs to be focused a bit more and with a better sound. However, RATM fans waiting to see what happens may find some solace here.
The World Is Yours
Lux Noise Records
Well if dirty, sleazy Supersuckers styled rock from Switzerland is your bag. You’re in luck.
Say hello to The Vibes from Aarau, Switzerland whose fifth album this is. Which is a wee bit annoying. Not that they’ve released five albums. The fact I haven’t heard of them till now. But then you count the number of Swiss gigs I’ve attended on Long John Silvers weaker hand.
Turns out the trio has been bashing out top quality rock’n’roll for the best part of sixteen years leading up to this. And as someone who grew up in a world of Motorhead and Hanoi Rocks this makes me surprisingly content for a man of low moods. Maybe it’s when the moothie starts blaring on ‘The Boogeyman’ or when they shoot into hyperspace on the sensitively titled ‘Super Cunt’. Yes, that’s the one for radio play.
Mojo, Mat and Hede are the men responsible for making such an Almighty racket (in a good way) and I’ll even forgive them mentioning Oasis in their press bumph, so rockingly righteous is this release. The closest they get to being pop is probably ‘Behind The Blue Sky’ which is also the closest they get to the dreaded O word. Although they’ve more in common with the likes of Jet and The Datsuns. But for the vast majority of this record they stick to they kind of scuzzy rock and roll that made me the man I am today. Which is probably not a recommendation.
Riffs, attitude and rock’n’roll. That’ll do.
St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton