Okay, I’ll admit I was one of those who thought the only good thing that came out of Norwich was the A11 but hold up….seems like if you stumble into any Norfolk bar of an evening these days, you’ll be lucky enough to hear The Mojo Preachers whipping up a juke joint-style, blues and soul hooley.
Turns out there must be a “crossroads” near Thetford and the Preachers went down there and sold their souls so the least we can do is buy their debut album, Confessions, and a damn fine piece of original work it is too.
The blues is a well-trodden path and, in any crowded creative space, “rising above” is usually all about three things – the songs, the songs and…..the songs. So, it’s very refreshing to hear a first release brimming with quality tunes.
Brits have flown the flag for the blues for nearly six decades now, arguably selling it back to the America from whence it came (and to people who had no idea it was on their doorstep) so it isn’t so surprising that bands like Mojo Preachers emerge but it’s still the overall consistency of this virgin release which impresses throughout.
Sultry, seductive vocalist, Sophie Lindsay, interprets the blues with the crispness of Rita Coolidge, the power of Beth Hart and the coolness of one of my personal favourites, Elkie Brooks. Superbly backed by a tight-as-a-camel’s-arse-in-a-sandstorm band, the Preachers are the real deal, respectful to the genre and faithful to the legacy of raw, emotional blues.
Demonstrating the ability to vary the tempo on tracks like “Clouds Rain” and “Easy”, the Preachers’ Mojo is surely working well, holding the attention from start to finish and feeling, after three full plays, like it’s as comfortable as a battered sofa.
Whilst Zep might sue them for use of the riff on the stompy “Loaded Lucy” (Trampled Under Foot – anyone?), Confessions is littered with luscious cuts. From the Fats Domino-inspired rolling keys of “Leave A Light On”, the dramatic pushiness of “Pearlescent Eyes” and the sassy “Harlequin Man”, this is a forceful debut indeed and worthy of your attention. Where Route 66 meets the A11… *****
Review by Mark “Mad Dog” Shaw
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SUZI QUATRO Macho Man (SPV)
JOANovARC Try It On (indie)
DARK STARES You Know Me (indie)
AS SIRENS FALL She Runs With The Wolves (indie)
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12:00-13:00 INGLORIOUS Ride To Nowhere (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 BONNIE TYLER Between The Earth And The Stars (BMG)
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BAD COMPANY Here Comes Trouble (1992)
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