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Sunday, 30 January 2011

Joseph Dean Osgood, Bedouin Soundclash, The Red Eyes, The Spitfires, Lord Rochester, Rocket City Riot, The Bresslaws.

Joseph Dean Osgood – Rock N Roll Man
I don't think that it is possible to put your finger on the exact point when the quintessential sounds of English styled rock and blues staggered off of the worlds stage.
It was never a case of it being in one day and out the next. More so the big hitters simply slipped off one by one into the elephants graveyard of the eighties.
Some would release albums that tried desperately to remain hip, but more often than not managed to achieve nothing more than provide us with the aural equivalent of the drunk uncle at the wedding who is vainly attempting to cling to past glories.
A sad state of affairs if there ever was one.
There has however been the odd attempt to breath some life into the sounds of the past throughout the last few decades.
Paul Weller made a successful career out of it, while the Verve managed an authentic warm embrace, but it's all been a bit hit and miss really.
That is until now, and that's because Joseph Dean Osgood who, with his mini début, has taken the legacy of everyone from the Faces to Mott The Hoople and managed to kick start its atrophied heart.
Don't be mistaken in thinking that this is simply a homage to the past or even an attempt at some retro nostalgia, but instead consider it as the sound of someone who appreciates that you have to know where you came from to know where you are going.
It's a melding of the legendary song writing talents of Ray Davies and the music of the Faces looked at from the cracked perspective of 2010.
The five original tracks on display are so good that they do little more than beg the question why there is the addition of the Python Lee Jackson track “In a Broken Dream”. While it fits in with the over all tone of the album, it's a superfluous inclusion and I can only hazard a guess that it was included to provide a musical signpost for those who may skip by Joseph Dean Osgood without it.
If that is the case then I can live with it.
If not then more Joseph Dean Osgood would have been preferred.

Bedouin Soundclash – Light the horizon.
Light the Horizon is never overpowering in its intent, but instead chooses to balance on the periphery and intrude politely into the air that surrounds you. It's quite simply an oasis of calm in a turbulent world.
The aural equivalent of kicking back with some friends after a long hard day and relaxing into a sunset with a drink in your hand.
The ambiance envelopes you, transporting the listener to a better place and time that could be in your past or just waiting to ease into the reality of the future.
I don't think I have ever heard white boy reggae being played so well.
The one step removal from the roots of the music allows this to slip effortlessly into the mainstream without having sold its soul to do so.
It's caught me unaware in the most pleasurable way possible.
A lovely release that deserves to be lauded across the board.

The Red Eyes - From the outside in (Falling Down Records)
The Red Eyes are a prime example of everything that is wrong with the music business.
They have supported every single punk rock star of yesteryear, laid claim to stages the length and breadth of the country and cemented their fantastic live reputation with a fist full of classic studio albums.
It's an inarguable fact that they tick every single box that a punk rock loving music fan could think off, and yet the door to a wider audience has remained firmly shut to them regardless of how hard they kicked at it.
It makes no sense at all.
If there were any justice in this world then their albums would reside lovingly between classic SLF and Clash releases in your record collection. The quality is up there with the big guys and I don't really have to push this point as their latest album provides all the evidence that anyone would need to support the claim.
“From the outside in” is a virtually the perfect blend of UK punk rock influences. Not one flavour overpowers the melting pot of tracks on offer. It's the soundtrack to the last thirty tears squeezed onto a little shiny disc.
You could sit for hours picking all your favourite tracks from multiple bands for a road trip and get to a few hundred and then think “fuck it, I'll just play the Red Eyes all the way there and back” and there wouldn't be a minute of the journey that you would regret the decision.
Our win and the music businesses loss then.

The Spitfires - Aim Low (Twenty Stone Blatt Records)
“Aim Low” is the dogs bollocks. Its debauched whiskey sodden bar room brawling who the fuck are you looking at punk rock and roll at its very best. You want blood? You got it and they're spitting it all over the stage.
Yeah that's a cliche ridden opening statement, but regardless of the eyebrow raising it may draw its still true.
Honestly. I shit you not. Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a finger in my eye “The Spitfires” have got that swagger that gets your blood pumping in abundance.
They have that attitude. That fierce self belief that refuses to bend to fashion trends or gimmickry. The outlaw stance of “take us as we are or fuck off” that all the best, and most exciting, bands seem to have a plentiful supply of.
The Dead Boys had it, Rocket from the Crypt had it and nestling in between these bands “The Spitfires” have it to.
So if taking a walk on the wild side - even if it's from the comfort of your armchair - is your thing then you really need to familiarize yourself with this band. It's guaranteed that you will love them.
Unfortunately there is a downside, and that's that this may well be their last album.
It would seem that the current state of play is being described as “it's complicated” and with no live dates or studio time in the offing it looks like this album could be the Spitfires swansong.
Fingers crossed that its not, but if it is then at the very least they can hold their heads high and without a shadow of doubt tell people that they went out on a high.

Lord Rochester - Hey! (Twenty Stone Blatt Records)
Bo Diddley did it better. What more can be said?
Okay. You want more?
Right here's the skinny. When push comes to shove it's obvious that they are good at what they do. It's just that if I want to listen to this style of music then I'm going to stretch over a big pile of copies of Hey! just to reach that one copy of Bo Diddley is a gunslinger.
In fact if I was in a warehouse of ten thousand CDs and nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine of them were copies of Hey! I would probably still spend a silly amount of time looking for the one Bo Diddley album hidden amongst them all.

Rocket City Riot - Pop Killer (Twenty Stone Blatt Records)
Blah, blah, blah. Heard it all before. Throw in a Dead Boys and a Ramones cover, as they have, and I would normally be salivating like one of Pavlov's dogs as I'm conditioned to just dig that sort of stuff, but while all the pieces are in place here the whole things isn't working for some reason.
Familiarity seems to be definitely breeding a degree of contempt. It's not that I'm familiar with “Rocket City Riot”, but I don't need to be. They're one of a million bands who have been doing this for the last twenty odd years. Like I said. I've heard it all before.
A Song like “Do you want me” would be a great single and it even hints at the band being one who could float to the top of their niche genre, but then when you consider it alongside the other fifteen tracks it just slips under the radar.
I could damn this with faint praise, but the truth is that it's highly doubtful that it will ever see the inside of my stereo again. Not bad, just blah.

The Bresslaws – Find my way home (Twenty Stone Blatt Records)
Here we go. Here we go. Here we go. Mod psych doing the Medway twist and it's a glorious noise. The sound of the sixties is stamped all the way through it, but don't expect a throwback to past UK glories as this has all the bite that you would expect from guys who have lived through the punk years and then plundered a sound from further back.
A magnificent melting pot of influences held together with a swirling retro Hammond sound is how the mainstream press would probably describe it. I'll just say it's ace.
I can see myself playing this a lot. In fact it's just finished and I'm going to play it again. How good is that?

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