[Release date 02.05.14]
All the ingredients for a wider breakthrough are to be found in the second release by Swedish singer songwriter Buford Pope (aka Mikael Liljeborg) – raspy vocals reminiscent of a young Rod Stewart and pop/rock songs echoing the 1980s glory days of Bryan Adams and The Boss.
Something of an ‘occasional’ artist – his last release was his debut some 13 years ago – Sticks In The Throat is a throwback to simpler times and the era of Neil Young, Jackson Browne and Tom Petty.
And while it could have been a great album, it’s let down by a couple of ingredients. Firstly, Pope’s vocals are buried disappointingly deep in the mix, and secondly the playing, while proficient, at times lacks empathy with the material. The drumming sounds Duracell-powered and an occasional absence of ‘feel’ fails to give some of the songs and vocals the required space to breathe.
But they’re minor quibbles – I assume that’s down to the employment of ‘hired hands’, and when the elements align as on the tantalizing hook of ‘She’s Got A Country Mouth’, the seductive ‘Love Affair’, the Southern steeped ‘I’ll Get Over That’, and the bluesy ‘What Will Your Mama Say’, there’s a irresistible swagger to the material.
Overall though, Sticks In The Throat is a signal of intent more than an irresistible calling card. Not dissimilar in many ways to the recent work of Tom Fuller, it’s a fine release, but equally perhaps something of a missed opportunity. ****
Review by Pete Whalley
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Power Plays w/c 5 March 2018
BAD LLAMA Crooked Empire (indie)
EDENTHORN Mind Like A Mindfield (indie)
KATALINA KICKS Waterfall (indie)
THE ROCKET DOLLS None Of This Is Right (indie)
BONFIRE Crazy Over You (SPV)
THE AMORETTES Everything I Learned I Learned From Rock N Roll (SPV)
MY INDIGO Crash And Burn (MVKA)
Featured Albums w/c 5 March (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 FM Atomic Generation (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 BURN Ice Age (Melodic Rock Records)
14:00-16:00 BETH NIELSEN CHAPMAN Hearts Of Glass (Proper Music)
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