[Release date 27.06.17]
The cheque is in the mail, of course I love you, gosh you don’t look any different, that’s me done drinking and rock is dead all rank amongst some of the most oft-repeated bullshit lies of all time – especially the last one. We just live in a world where we’re awash with choice and have become complacent, fat, dumb and allegedly happy – when something doesn’t immediately appear at our demanding fingertips, we lose interest and declare it “dead”.
The fact is that most genres of music are now mature, meaning that unless you’re curious about how a cello sounds through a VOX AC30 with jazz scat/rap-infused vocals (that’s rhetorical, don’t be….), there are only a finite number of riffs and limited ways of putting notes and chord structures together to sound meaningful – and musos have been figuring those out for nigh on six decades now.
What’s my point? It’s all about the songs, stupid. Youtube will teach you anything you want to know about, except originality. Go into your local guitar shop – 10 year-olds can shred and reel off the top 100 riffs of all time.
Breathing life and vitality into guitar-driven rock with their latest album, “Flesh Blood And Bone”, South Wales’ Fireroad are right on the money, pulling some serious punches – no pun intended although the album is touchingly dedicated and packaged in homage to the “Merthyr Matchstick”, bantamweight boxer, Johnny Owen.
Personally, I’ve had a crumbled ten pound note in my sweaty little mitt waiting for this album since the excellent “I Got Sound” debut (which I still love – check out the title track and “Never Wrong”) and then the ‘Unplugged Live At The Borderline’ acoustic offering.
Right where the pen meets the fretboard, Fireroad again show incredible consistency in the straightforward and fresh force of their song-writing. Don’t get me wrong, the execution is all there from big, powerful vocals, ridiculously catchy hooks, well thought-out solos and proper tub-thumping drums but I refer to the above – even if you’ve got all gear in the van and the internet to show you how to plug it in, you still need to do something impressive with it.
Yeah, there are lots of influences (sixty years of rock/pop history won’t leave anyone untouched) but the quality of this band’s output is what makes them rocking champions rather than just mere contenders.
Authentic and honest, this is an instantly accessible rock album…if all albums were this good from start to finish, people wouldn’t snack on the odd downloaded track. This isn’t ringside, looking-in, pretender to the crown stuff – this is a very cool, jab to the jaw collection of classic rock – ten relentless rounds of gritty, driving power tunes. Suck it and see on “Minute”, “Your Summer Sun” and “Wine and Honey” but go the distance with this album (and “I Got Sound”).
Cracking stuff and a middle finger to the “rock-is-dead” naysayers. And with nearly all of the band called either Jones, Evans or Davies, this is the freshest rock I’ve heard come out of Wales since Budgie. *****
Review by Mark “Mad Dog” Shaw
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DARK STARES You Know Me (indie)
AS SIRENS FALL She Runs With The Wolves (indie)
KEITH HOWE Got It An’ Gone (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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DEEP PURPLE Slaves And Masters (1990)
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