AD Recordings Ltd [Release date 8.04.13]
Albany Down draw on deeply entrenched classic rock influences, contemporary production values and impressive song craft to suggest a bright future. The album title ‘Not Over Yet, could just as easily refer to rock music as a whole, as it does to a relationship song, as this is a band with the material, the chops and the passion to make their mark.
‘Not Over Yet’ is an impressive, big sounding follow up to their ‘South Of The City’ debut album. They’ve expanded their classic rock influences, toughened up the riffs and focused on song structure. They sound like a band on a mission, with the swagger and booming choruses to back it up, all under the watchful eye of seasoned producer Greg Haver.
The powerhouse outfit is led by vocalist Paul Muir, whose shapes the songs to his own ends and who has that rare ability to seize the moment. He puts his own stamp on a radio friendly blend of classic rock, rock-blues anthems and ballads, sparked by guitarist Paul Turley and nailed by the powerhouse rhythm section of drummer Damien Campbell and bassist Billy Dedman.
But it’s the subtle balance between song craft and the big sounding production that gives Albany Down their impact. They mirror Led Zeppelin on the bombastic ‘Back Again’ and distil their own magic on the melodic and uplifting chorus of ‘Man Like Me’. It’s the perfect example of how they refuse to settle for any one niche, letting the material and the vibe determine where they are going.
You think you’ve got their measure on the opening brace of songs, but then they subtly alter their focus again with the stuttering rhythm pattern and eastern drone of ‘She’s The Light’, while ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ has one eye on the American market.
The title track incorporates pulverising Rush style riffs and benefits from another uplifting hook and snappy guitar break. In contrast they dig deep for intensity on the smouldering blues ballad ‘You Ain’t Coming Home’ which suggests they are a fast maturing outfit who have grasped the basics of light and shade.
There are moments on this album when you can almost feel the band coming of age, as they play to their strengths without losing sight of the bigger picture. And even if they did, they have producer Greg Haver’s guiding hand to keep them on track and add gloss to the soaring vocals, lightning licks and explosive band interplay.
It’s a great combination that gives the material room to breathe while allowing the band to retain their spark and explore their expansive sound. And while there’s plenty of familiar musical influences at play, ranging from their self confessed predilection for Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Cream, Free and Foo Fighters, it’s the way they incorporate disparate elements and transform them into something unique that gives Albany Down a fighting chance to cross over to something altogether bigger.
They save their best for last with their own anthem ‘The Working Man’, which taps into contemporary times with heartfelt, socially relevant lyrics, topped by a soaring vocal, big production strings and a defining guitar break. ‘Not Over Yet’ taps into the roots of rock’s collective consciousness to come up with something refreshingly new and exciting. Unreservedly recommended for all classic rock fans. **** (4/5)
Review by Pete Feenstra
Albany Down play an exclusive acoustic session on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Thursday 13 June 2013 at 21:00 GMT. Listen Live
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