Quick plays: GENERATIONALS, LUKE GIRVAN, DINNERSTEIN & MERRITT, BRETT WALKER, VAMP

GENERATIONALS – Heza
Polyvinyl Records (Released April 8th)

A two-piece band consisting of Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer and they are assisted on percussion by the producer Daniel Black. I am not sure what they used to sound like as the press release says they have had ‘a subtle but significant sonic shift’. They traverse many musical areas from the US indie rock feel of opener ‘Spinoza’ and then there is a world music feel to the catchy ‘Say When’.

‘I Never Know’ mixes the guitar sound of Chris Rea with an indie rock beat, whilst ‘You Got Me’ cleverly adds in electronica and sampling, an album highlight for me.
Their wide range of music may mean they don’t play in arenas anytime soon but then that’s not what this band are about.

***1/2
Jason Ritchie

LUKE GIRVAN – Take Me To The Doctor
www.lukegirvan.com

A young and fresh faced singer and songwriter who cites a fair few rock acts as his influence and there is some rock on this album, albeit more of the kind your mum would like!

Highlight would be ‘I Just Need One Shot’, a highly addictive chorus on this one and like the rest of the album horns are used to good effect to round out the songs. In fact the whole album reminds me of the mini-big band feel Colin James does so well, although he is more blues based whilst Luke has his eye firmly on a pop song.

Hint of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers on ‘Where You Are’ and ‘Enough Is Enough’, whilst ‘Break My Heart Again’ has a reggae lilt to the sound. Surprisingly there is only one ballad, ‘This Time Around’ which Luke just about pulls off as his slightly nasal vocal is better suited to the uptempo numbers.

It is not a bad little album (it only lasts just under forty minutes) and given a little exposure on Radio 2 and the like he could get some deserved success.

***
Jason Ritchie

SIMONE DINNERSTEIN & TIFT MERRITT – Night

Sony Classical (Released 18th March)

This is a collaboration between pianist Simone Dinnerstein and singer/songwriter Tift Merritt and they explore many musical areas during the course of the album. Merritt’s vocals are very gentle and almost lullaby like to the listener, with their version of ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ a real tour de force. Another good cover is the Billie Holiday song ‘Don’t Explain’, although it is not all covers as Merritt pens four songs on the album. Dinnerstein shows her undoubted talent as a leading classical pianist on not only the aforementioned songs but a few classical pieces including Bach’s ‘Prelude In B Minor’.

The musicianship you can not fault, nor the performances however it may not be to everyone’s liking and the real market will be the classical audience.

***

Jason Ritchie

DEAN ALLEN FOYD – Road To Atlas (EP)

Crusher Records (released on 10″ red vinyl)

Dean Allen Foyd hail from Sweden and have already released their debut album last year. They play psychedelic rock and they take the music to the extreme. ‘Sadness Of Mankind’ is a groovy rocker and the best on the EP by far. The other four songs tend to see the band indulge in over extended psychedelic wig outs, a song like ‘Insects’ is most probably great if you’re under the influence.

Maybe for some but good, long lasting psychedelic rock needs some melodies and sadly bar the opening song Dean Allen Foyd don’t really hit the mark…

**1/2
Jason Ritchie

BRETT WALKER – Nevertheless

Divebomb Records

Originally released in 1994, and on a small Swedish independent label, Brett Walker’s “Nevertheless” album has been re-mastered, re-packaged and reborn. Of late I have come to realise that if you liked this sort of album back in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, odds are you are still going to like it now in 2013 – as music fans above a certain age tend to stay loyal to bands and albums.

“Nevertheless” features co-writing credits from the likes of Jonathan Cain (Journey), Jim Peterik (Survivor) and Stan Bush and will appeal to fans of bands such as Def Leppard, Journey, Bryan Adams and Richard Marx- it is big, solid and dependable polished melodic rock.  Rockier tracks like album opener “Hard To Find An Easy Way”, “Lecia”, “More Than A Memory” and bonus track “Midnight Angel”, the latter a 2012 remix, sit nicely alongside tracks like the acoustic “Never Gave Roses”, “Bad Time For A Goodbye” , “No Fire Without You” and the excellent “Take Me Home” and “Bring Back The Night”.

The album packaging also contains a brand new interview with Walker and photos from the original recording sessions.

***1/2

Nikk Gunns

VAMP – The Rich Don’t Rock

(2 CD Deluxe Edition) (Divebomb Records)

German band Vamp released their debut album “The Rich Don’t Rock” on Atlantic records in 1989, and what is worth bearing in mind is that at the time, major labels signed as many talented long haired bands as they could in the hope that they would all return the same kind of financial rewards as the likes of Skid Row, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue and the biggest rock band at the time, Guns N Roses. Many of the bands they signed weren’t the massive commercial success that the labels craved and as a result very few of them went on to release a second major label release.

Vamp were one such band, however “The Rich Don’t Rock” has now been re-mastered and re-packaged to include the original album, three 12” remixes and a second disc containing seven demos for the album (four of which were never included on the actual album) and eight more for what would have been the band’s sophomore release.

“The Rich Don’t Rock” opens with “Heartbreak, Heartache”- a track that, along with “Why” is reminiscent of the late ‘80’s output of W.A.S.P, there are touches of Europe to “Lonely Nights” and “Stand By Me”, AC/DC to “Talk Is Cheap” and Poison have clearly influenced “Like I Want”. Whilst all these tracks are good you get the feeling that the label had a hand in choice of producer Tony Platt (AC/DC, Foreigner) and the overall feel of the final mixes as the demos on the second disc have a better energy and feel to them that would have given the album a more original feel. Other highlights are “Shout”, “Renegade” and “All Nite”, bonus tracks are the 12” EP remixes of “Why”, “Shout” and “The Rich Don’t Rock”.

So to disc two where the eight “One Smack Killer” demos find the band sounding bigger and more confident and signs are that the second album would probably have fared better than its processor had Atlantic taken that chance, just listen to “Dead In The Backseat”, “Junkyard D.O.G”, “The Big Mess” and ballad “I Don’t Know”. The “Rich Don’t Rock” demos have a feel that I have already mentioned and it’s good to see the songs that never made the final studio sessions see the light of day.

New interviews with all the band members, plus archive photos complete this worthwhile deluxe package.

***1/2

Nikk Gunns


In his show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on Sunday 29 March David Randall featured a selection of tracks from “Albums of the Month” (January-March 2020) (29:45)

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Featured Albums w/c 30 March (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 HARTMANN 15 Pearls And Gems (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 H.E.A.T. II (earMUSIC)
14:00-16:00 GRAHAM GOULDMAN Modesty Forbids (Lojinx)

Power Plays w/c 30 March (Mon-Fri)

LOUISE LEMON Devil (Icons Creating Evil Art )
BLACK ORCHID EMPIRE Winter Keeps Us Warm (indie)
ONE DESIRE Shadowman (Frontiers)
CRYSTAL IGNITE Black Mamba (indie)
PICTURESQUE ATTN: (Rude Records/Equal Vision Records)
SKARLETT RIOT Human (indie)
THE COVASETTES Spin (indie)



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