Platinum Pursuits/Proper Records [Release date 09.03.18]
I’m not quite sure why this album, originally released in 2014, by Winchester-based three piece Joe Dworniak (bass/backing vocals), Greg Bone (lead and rhythm guitars/backing vocals), and Chris Lapsa (lead vocals/guitars and keys), who for brevity I’ll refer to as DBL, is being given a fresh push.
Other than the fact that a) they recently signed to Proper Records who are re-issuing it, and b) it’s rather good.
Seemingly [slightly] better known on the continent than back at home, from the opening refrains of ‘Mortalman’, it’s clear where the band’s influences lie – Pink Floyd and Genesis. Now while I can hear the audible sigh, and yes DBL do lean heavily on the former’s Dark Side era, as is perhaps acknowledged in the album title, it has to be said this is an album of exquisite quality.
How it’s gone under the radar for so long is something of a mystery.
Featuring a delightful trumpet cameo by Robert Wyatt, Mortalman unashamedly ‘cherry picks’ Dark Side sounds and phrases, not least in Lapsa’s uncannily Gilmour-like nicotine timbred vocals, and in Bone’s period guitar sound. But it’s still impossible not to be impressed.
‘Home Parts 1-4′ are less overtly Floydian, the wonderful bluesy construction and delivery so fresh it still feels like it must have been written and recorded in the 1970s. ‘It Only Takes A Second’ – the shortest track here at four minutes – doffs a brief nod to the psychedelia of the late-sixties, and then it’s back to the seventies for ‘Funny Farm’.
Arguably the strongest track on the album – it’s another blissful piece with more Dark Side references than you could shake a stick at – from the vocals, the guitar, the keys and a marvellous sax solo. It’s nine minutes of splendour. Yes, it’s derivative, but at the same time the best song Gilmour and Co never recorded.
The title track concludes affairs sounding more Macca, than Floyd, but with a nonetheless contemporary ‘period’ feel.
Sadly, they don’t make ‘em like this anymore. Or maybe they do. ****
Review by Pete Whalley
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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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