Reviews roundup – Dr. Chrispy ~ Rick Berthod ~ The Pearson Memmott Conspiracy ~ Pharoty ~ Brass Owl
We’re rather partial to a bit of Dr Chrispy round these parts. Which surprises some folk what with my penchant for the heavy metal and barroom blues. But these are the folk who don’t remember the crusty days of Astralasia all nighters and Eat Static free festival sightings.
So this is his fifth release following on from his career in earthbound space exploration. It’s another EP (‘VHS’ being the only actual album to date) and sees three tracks – Transitory Morning, Afternoon and Evening being explored in their original and remixed formats. Now you know how I feel about remixes but with ‘VHS Remixed’ being a pleasant surprise I was willing to give it a go. And it’s good.
It’s also slightly different with each song being narrated in spoken word format over the music electronic sounds of Dr. Christy. It sounds a bit arty farty but the mixture of old school beats and dialogue actually works rather well. Granted “Transitory Evening” missed by a mile for me. Which is a shame because it’s here three times but the Morning and Afternoon offerings really seeped their way into me. Apparently the music is meant to reflect how we are as we move through each day and how the person we are at the end of the day is different from the person who started the day. Can’t argue with that, really.
The real winner for me was the Psybolord Remix of “Transitory Afternoon” which had me hitting the repeat button, um, repeatedly. A bit of a mixed bag, overall, but Dr. Chrispy continues to make very interesting music.
No video so here’s an oldie.
Here’s a fella whose been playing the blues for over three decades and this is his eighth album. I’ve never heard of him which just goes to show how even in the modern world someone can have a great club career going without the rest of the world knowing. Heck, he was even inducted into the Las Vegas Blues Hall of Fame in 2018.
And it’s easy to hear how he’s kept going all this time on this set of original material which sees Berthod teaming up with bassist / vocalist Smiley Lang, drummer Justin Truitt and Hammond organist Killy Truitt. PJ Barth also plays guitar on two of the tracks and Ron Anaman sings on two tunes as well.
As befits someone of his vintage Berthod is mining a well defined guitar style that looks back to the sixties blues rockers with a few SRV licks thrown in for good measure. At times he goes for a funky Stax blues style but is just as comfortable grinding out a slow blues. Actually he’s really good at the latter with “Memories” one of the best tracks on the album.
Of the instrumentals, the opening “Seeing Sideways” is the best and when Billy Truitt is let off the leash on a couple of Hammond drenched songs it’s an absolute treat. “Fly On” is a lovely, melodic tune while the heaviest and most British Blues Invasion inspired song is “High Dollar Girl”. It’s a rock solid release that fans of old school blues rock will definitely enjoy.
No video so here’s an oldie
THE PEARSON MEMMOTT CONSPIRACY
The Soundtrack To An Ordinary Day
Some Yorkshire prog now. Pod Pearson and Rich Memmott have been involved in music and bands for decades now, ploughing different fields until they found themselves in the same band. Realising they had a lot in common they set about making some melodic prog rock they way they wanted to. This is the result and it’s pretty good.
Their basic thing is seventies styled melodic prog but with a lot of pop, some splendid synths and even the odd Canterbury moment. When it all comes together it’s delicious as on the Caravan like ballad “Now That You’re Gone”, my absolute favourite on the record. Musically, they rarely put a foot wrong. However I’m not a huge fan of the vocals which are split between the two of them. Most are performed by Memmott which is odd considering Pearson has a gig with a Rush tribute band. I mean, really. Which means I’m more drawn to his songs (where he sounds more Randy Jackson than Geddy Lee).
But you can forgive a lot especially when the gorgeous guitar lines start running through the songs. The proggiest of all the tunes is ” Welcome To One-Six-Oh” which takes it’s time with plenty of time changes to satisfy the most ardent progster. They’re never afraid to tinker with the basic template so you’re just as likely to hear a funky bass line as you are a Hackett like guitar noodle. It’s certainly an interesting release and it’s always good to hear talented musicians going where their heart wants them to.
Point Of View
To Austria for some modern rock from Pharoty.
This seems to be their debut, following on from the ‘Trapped’ EP and sees them aiming straight down the middle of the road with some melodic choruses and non threatening riffs.
I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. If you remember the days when we used to have live music festivals then the second stages were always chock full of bands like Pharoty. Thing is, they’ve been doing this a long time. After all it took them ten years to follow up the aforementioned EP and poppy modern rock is, for better or worse, a young mans game. ‘Point Of View’ is also a concept album although as the concept is the last six years of the singers life it may not qualify as something universally empathetic.
They’re very good at what they do and all the musicians hit all the right notes in all the right places. With one exception the songs are in English which is one way of making sure people outside your own country hear you and Mario Heidegger has the right kind of voice for the songs. But you’ve got to knuckle down and do the legwork to drag yourself up the rock ladder. There are a couple of tracks that merit radio play with “Leaving This Stage” the best of them and “Respect” has got a chunky enough riff to get the festival crowd bouncing.
It’s good but whether it’s good enough to reach beyond their fan-base is a whole other thing.
State Of Mind
Once upon a time Brian Tarter, the vocalist / guitarist of Brass Owl, was a shredder. He even won a contest in his youth and got to jam with Steve Vai. But now he’s a proper grown up he’s went further back in time to the proto metal rumblers who’ve obviously inspired Brass Owl.
So there’s lots of Blue Cheer in these grooves which sees Tarter and drummer Lonnie Buckley getting all stoner and doom inspired. The music is definitely the sort of thing you’d expect to hear from that shack in the woods your parents warned you about. The likes of “Deuce Face” and “Pale Horse” are full of the kinds of noise that will give you night terrors. It’s not all brutal as the latter track will attest. As indeed, does the Pride & Glory like “Hook, Line And Sinker”.
Which means it’s really enjoyable. For sure, some of the tunes are more grooves with vocals than actual songs but if you’ve recently skinned a rabbit and are about to cook it over an open campfire then you’re really going to like this. At their most metallic they stray into Clutch territory but they largely make their own noise. Which is a rare thing nowadays. I’m not going to try and tell you that Tarter is the best singer in the world but when the drums come crashing into another vicious groove then it really doesn’t matter.
St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton