In a bygone age bands and artists would hone their skills as musicians in the bars and clubs.
It was in these dives that they paid their dues and built up a reputation from scratch.
If they were any good then they may have been lucky and a label would invest some cash in them, and with the studio time they were provided with they would lay down the material that had been sorely road tested, and in this way a debut would be rolled out filled with music that was often all killer and bereft of any filler.
Unfortunately in this modern age the benefits of computer programmes can allow pretty much anyone to record a full album, and while some individuals excel in doing so, there are those who should try hard not to run before the walk and foist their half formed musical endeavours on the public.
Thankfully with the Titan Sessions Christie Connor-Vernal has provided us with material that is all about the former, and nothing to do with the latter. (Although it’s not funded by a label)
When the term punching above their weight gets bandied about it could well be in a conversation about these sessions, as Christie and the band have stepped up and delivered far more than what was promised.
There’s established artists who are falling far shot of the quality bar that has been set here.
If the remit before they went into the studio was to lay down some tracks that could be described as a little bit country, and a whole lotta rock and roll, then the mission is now completed and it’s time to move on and take these songs into venues and let them run free.
With the opening track “Hound Dog’s Moon” laying down the gauntlet the band are flexing their muscles and letting anyone listening know that this is no tentative introduction to what Christie can do, and it certainly sound like her band mates are saying “No one leaves Christie in the corner”.
Great vocals, and the musicianship on display is a tad breathtaking, and then just when you think you know what will be coming next “Black and Grey” comes in from leftfield and challenges the legendary rock goddesses, such as the Wilson sisters, in the balladry stakes.
Roll the clock back to when rock acts were the staple for MTV and this is a song that would have been on heavy rotation.
With “Bad Girl Boogie” you can hear hints of a song that deserves some Muscle Shoals treatment.
Not that this is to say it is lacking in anything, but more so that it lends itself to a certain production that would take it from being a great song to one that would have the term “classic” attached to it.
“As good as it gets” is dustbowl romanticism dropped off on Sunset Strip and told that it aint getting back into the car until it’s howled its heart on its sleeve message to the world, while “Oceans Away” displays a maturity of song-writing that once again someone with a clutch of platinum albums on their wall would at least part exchange their soul for.
Close your eyes and you can imagine a stadium crowd losing themselves in it.
Then with a final flourish “Eye for an Eye” is revealed and sees the band pretty much perfectly blending the hard with the smooth as they provide a foundation for Christie to build from as she proclaims that an “eye for an eye will leave this whole damn world blind”.
All in all this is an impressive take on a blend of a few genres, and it’s doubtful that anyone investing it will be feeling short changed.