MBM Entertainment [Release date 11.03.16]
It’s great when a new band takes its cue from anything other than early seventies blues rock. The Raptor Trail major on well constructed songs, great playing and a definite – even if subconscious – nod to American acoustic/southern rock purveyed by the likes of Atlanta Rhythm Section and Little Feat. Their drummer Gene Bass (just to be confusing) was in the highly rated Jupiter Coyote – together with band mainman Matt Mayes – which offers another signpost.
Judging by the minimalist sleeve liner with a shameful lack of lyric sheet, the band have been picked up by various prog media on the web, but this music is not specifically prog.
Opener ‘Four Times’ is characterised by a busy bass line and general urgency powered by Johnny Meyer’s thrusting guitar figures, ‘Whoville’ has a lovely acoustic flow throughout its captivating six minutes.
A track like ‘Stone By Stone’ might even appeal to modern day Noel Gallagher fans, a lovely acoustic-based groove tinged with psychedelia. ‘Let It Go’ is proggy but nevertheless rooted in the band’s melodic sensibilities and not without a nod to Pink Floyd.
The title track is particularly impressive and another vehicle for their richly orchestrated acoustic arpeggios and vocal harmonies topped with psychedelic guitar.
Overall, the standard is high on this album and the band prove themselves as capable and convincing on the shorter tracks – ‘Time Slides Onward’ and ‘Grace’ – as the more lengthy pieces such as “Going To Dublin’, ‘Wheel’ and the heaviest track ‘Desolation’.
The band have been incubating for a couple of decades and, to date, appears to be something of a cottage industry. It would be a real shame if ‘New World’ didn’t find a much wider audience. Refreshing and totally compulsive. *****
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
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