KJETIL BY featuring ROBIN BECK – Better Days www.kjetilby.com
This is the fourth solo album from Norwegian guitarist Kjetil and the songs on this album are all co-written with Claudia Scott. His biggest coup is enlisting the help of Robin Beck to sing the songs and her hubby helps out on production and backing vocals.
This is an enjoyable collection of mid-paced AOR songs, nothing to rocky and certainly not as heavy as House Of Lords. With Robin Beck on vocals you know there will be no problems with the singing!
Add to that the harmony vocals of James Christian and you’re onto a winner. Kjetil is a classy guitar player, playing just the right length solos and they fit seamlessly into the AOR tunes on the album. ‘Dancers’ is one for airplay with its hook filled chorus, whilst the ballad ‘Carry On’ benefits from Robin Beck’s vocal taking it up a notch quality wise.
One little quibble is the keys/synths do take over a little, although with the pedigree of the player Dag Selboskar of Street Legal/Da Vinci fame we will let him off!
For a quality album of AOR meets pop rock this will be right up your street and of course of interest to Robin Beck and House Of Lords fans. ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
LEXIE GREEN Breathe
Running out at sub-30 minutes, UK singer songwriter Lexie Green’s debut solo album is hardly much longer than some EPs. But I guess it’s the quality that counts rather than the quantity.
So what of it? Well, Lexie’s becoming increasingly well known around the UK live circuit for her eclectic sets of Americana, rock, folk, and blues influenced songs.
She’s shared the stage with other up and coming female ‘blues’ artists like Bex Marshall and Cherry Lee Mewis, but the material on Breathe has far more in common – vocally and in substance – with the likes of Katie Melua.
As such, it’s not an album that grabs you by the balls, more gives them a gentle caress. Which, in the right circumstances, can be very pleasant, but Breathe struggles on a couple of levels.
The production by Pete Brazier (Simon Cowell, Dolly Parton, John Martyn) is a little muddy at times and doesn’t really do Green justice, and then there’s the material that fails to weave a cohesive thread. But for someone who’d never written a song, picked up a guitar, or sung in public six years ago that’s perhaps understandable.
Americana seems to be the new rock ‘n’ roll, but while Goodbye Herotio attempts to paint on a southern canvas with images of tequila and rattlesnakes, much of Breathe sits a fair distance from that genre and it’s British roots are always evident.
Focusing on the singer and the song, Bettys Car is a clear pick of the bunch (opening with echoes of Eleanor McEvoy’s cover of True Colors) and signals that with the right moves, Lexie Green could be one to watch. But for now, Breathe is work in progress. ***
Review by Pete Whalley
JON ALLEN – Deep River
www.jonallensongs.co.uk [Released 07.07.14]
This is Jon Allen’s third album and he has earned rave reviews from fellow musicians like Jools Holland and Duffy. He does have a lovely, mellow voice with a slight rough edge – reminded me a little of Kelly Jones from the Stereophonics.
Songs about love , the emotive opener ‘Night & Day’ mix well with the more up tempo, breezy pop of ‘Get What’s Mine’. A few guest musicians add little musical touches here and there to Jon Allen’s guitar playing. Lovely piece of understated Hammond on ‘Keep Moving On’. He can even turn his hand to blues as can be heard on ‘Hummingbird Blues’. The song features some uplifting blues guitar playing.
Jon Allen plays Cornberry festival and Kew the Music this summer and he will be winning over new fans I am sure. ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
VARIOUS – Heavy Psych Sounds
A CD sampler featuring four bands on the Heavy Psych Sounds label. Pick of the bunch is Black Rainbows whose recent album I have reviewed earlier this year. They play heavy psych rock and if you like say Hawkwind with a more doom/metal edge this band will be up your street. White Lies have an extended workout that veers into electronica territory, again by way of Hawkwind. The other two bands on here Naam and the Flying Eyes aren’t too bad either, the Flying Eyes are good groove based music with a heavy dose of Hammond running through the music.
Not sure of the price of the CD but a decent introduction to the label’s music. ***
Review by Jason Ritchie
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