Album review: ELIZA NEALS – Breaking and Entering

In this special hour-long feature, first broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Pete Feenstra chats to Eliza Neals about her music.

ELIZA NEALS – Breaking and Entering

E-H Records [Release date 20.02.15]

‘Breaking And Entering’ is a rip roaring rock/blues album with plenty of musical diversity and a poppy soulful heart.

Eliza Neals and her Detroit musicians rock hard and occasional explore soulful retro 60′s moments which serve to counterweight the band’s jagged edges, as they balance raunchy rock/blues with radio friendly soulful pop.

‘Breaking And Entering’ is a mirror reflection of Eliza Neals, a vocalist with a startling vocal range to match her personality. She’s an award winning blues and rock songwriter and the two genres give the album plenty of energy and originality.

Neals’s unfettered vocals constantly search for emotion and excitement, while her musical partner, guitarist Howard Glazer, adds an array of buzz tones and sharp edged solos.

‘Breaking And Entering’ is a wild ride, full of impassioned songs given their substance and shape by Eliza’s saw tooth vibrato. The combination of her lascivious lyrics and the band’s gritty edge makes for some raunchy rock/blues shot through with garage band spontaneity

Just when you think you’ve nailed the band’s style they surprise us with a handful of sweeping melodies and some very catchy hooks, as Eliza’s expressive phrasing hovers over some of the most beautifully crafted radio friendly pop rock of 2016.

The blues and rock influences coalesce into a coherent composite, comprising autobiographical songs and colourful narratives which are given their spark by a relentless drive that nails the moment.

Together with an all star cast including Kenny Olson, Gabe Gonzalez, Mike Puwal and Paul Randolph, Eliza splendidly carves out her own style. The album embarks on a dobro-led rock/blues journey that takes in hard rock, grunge and soulful pop with catchy hooks.

The opening ‘Detroit Drive’ is sultry piece that evokes the sexual possibilities of a hot Detroit night, while the sledgehammer blues of the title track finds the band at their most belligerent while Eliza doesn’t hold back on her lyrical intent:

“Seducing a man Seducing a man ain’t no easy job, It’s like robbing an armored car. You only get one chance to go real far”

Eliza Neals is a primal force with the raw gut emotion of Janis Joplin and she levers us into a musical journey strewn with colourful narratives. Everything is cleverly balanced by thoughtful sequencing – the juxtaposition of raw and the smooth – and the feeling that each song is interconnected and part of a coherent whole.

It may be an old school approach to making an album, but the essential flow makes a mockery of the one song digital download era.

She soars on the sing-along hook of ‘Jekyll And A Hound’ and she’s unflinching about voyeuristic technology on ‘Goo Goo Glass’. Then there’s the Zeppelin style bombast and anthemic delight of ‘You’, the album highlight.

The percussive ‘Pretty Gritty’ is even more catchy and there’s a lovely rejig of Motown legend Barrett Strong’s long forgotten B-side  ’Sugar Daddy’.

They refine that style on the bouncy melody of ‘I’m The Girl’, a song that makes it hard to believe that the material is from the same band who produced the title track and the grungy ‘Spinning’.

‘Breaking And Entering’ is an original and passionately played, shape shifting rock-blues album with unexpected crossover appeal. Check it out.  ****

Review by Pete Feenstra

Pete Feenstra presents his Rock & Blues Show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Tuesday at 19:00 GMT, and “The Pete Feenstra Feature” on Sundays at 20:00

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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 4 July 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 6 July 2021.

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One Response to Album review: ELIZA NEALS – Breaking and Entering

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