Capital City Music Factory/Cargo Records [Release date: 30.03.18]
Welcome back Fin, all is forgiven. Those excruciating Rod Stewart tribute videos on You Tube can now safely be forgotten.
Waysted’s gravel-throated front man returns with half of redneck metallers American Dog and friends, to release as fine an album of stripped back, good time, blues-fused hard rock as you could possibly wish to hear.
The release has something of a convoluted history. Three of the tracks here were featured on a collaboration between Fin and American Dog on the ‘Dogatized’ album back in 2013. That record had its own twisty back story. American Dog and Pete way were due to release an album of covers and new material some while ago. However our hero Pete Way fell foul of the US immigration service and was not able to return to Columbus to finish the project. Fin stepped in.
It seems that the partnership stuck. five years later, the ‘Dogatized’ crew has morphed into a new band, Cattail Brew. This album is mostly new material, if you include the reworked tunes from 2013. Just one cover makes the cut, a superb version of the Tommy Bolin demo ‘Jump Back’. The band takes its name from a line in this song.
The album is simple, fun, infectious and just so relaxed. Juicy riffs rip all over the place. Opener, ‘Cry Baby’ drips with sleazy quality, ‘Side By Side’ and ‘Liar’ fizz along on meaty rhythms and ‘Get Back The Spark’ saunters with all the pomp of classic hard rock.
Every track relies on big vocal hooks and plenty of group chant-a-longs. Fin’s voice holds up really well; for the most part dealing out his characterful rasp with all the power and presence of old.
Chief partner in crime, American Dog’s Steve Theado knits together a series of loose, thick guitar parts from one track to the next, and fills them out with free-wheeling solos. The band is completed by the Dog’s drummer Keith Pickens and the Snowblynd pair, bassist Joe Viers and guitarist Ryan Smith.
‘Fishbowl Blues’ is a highlight, evoking a feel and attitude that is pure Faces. Looks like Fin will never shake off those Rod comparisons. ‘Fools Gold’ is also a stand out track with some beautiful slide guitar over a guitar/piano groove that is right out of those glorious early ‘70’s. Theado’s slide also powers up the poignant ‘Jump Back’. Another contender for track of the album. So many.
If one tune shakes things up a little, it’s ‘Glitter’ which allows the band to stretch out and exploit some moody, darker territory. Fin takes the vocal down and spins a yarn of frustration around some funky electric piano. Theado chimes in with delicious extended breaks and the track builds to a powerful climax around the vocal line.
This is all about a group of musicians having an absolute ball with their influences and coming up with a classy album full of catchy tunes, great playing and enough swagger to dust up a catwalk. The big five from me. *****
Review by Dave Atkinson
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Pete Feenstra celebrated his 300th show in October 2019. Pete heads up a five-hour blues rock marathon when “Tuesday is Bluesday” from 19:00 GMT. Listen out also for his interview-based Feature show on Sundays (20:00 GMT)
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