Pete Feenstra chatted to Joost de Lange for his Feature show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, playing tracks from ‘Lonesome Wolf’. First broadcast 7 July 2019.
Self release [Release date 01.03.19]
Joost de Lange Band’s ‘Lonesome Wolf’ is a hard hitting rock-blues album inspired by Rory Gallagher, but fashioned to their own ends by the band’s melodic hard rock-blues intensity. It’s an album full of grit, passion, sweat and guts. It’s crammed full of flint sharp riffs, inspired playing and solid songs.
Belgium-based Joost de Lang Band is the epitome of a hard rock power trio with blues antecedents. They are the glorious sum of their parts on 11 tracks that balances rocking blues with subtle elements of grunge, funk and melodic pop that offers plenty of contrast.
Everything sounds effortless, yet there’s an unfettered intensity to their music as they transfer their live chops into a studio without missing a beat.
‘Lonesome Wolf’ is the kind of album that rock fans of a certain age will relish, while younger rock fans will surely be drawn to the bone crunching riffs.
Rory Gallagher comes to mind simply because the band members play as if it’s their last day on earth. The steely riffs, thunderous rhythm section and animated vocals mirror the band’s total commitment.
They open with a brace of hard rockers which sets out their musical stall. ‘Drifting Away’ is the sound of a road tested band that knows the value of a good chorus. The focus is on sheer power and intensity, tempered by de Lange’s scorched earth vocals and judicious use of wah-wah.
‘Best Shot’ is an equally good, being a high octane hard-rock drinking song fired by Ramses Donvil’s bulldozer drums, incendiary guitar and another catchy hook with subtle harmonies. A mighty tension breaking guitar solo in the middle lifts the track to another level and gives the album its sense of direction.
And it’s that simple combination of the intense solos and uplifting hooks that gives the band its unique sound in a crowded market place.
‘Fly On’ features a spiky Walter Trout style riff fused with a melodic bent, before a defining solo that rises from the track like a soaring eagle.
Trout is also an influence on the big wall of sound that glues together the title track, which flows mellifluously and leads into a blitzkrieg solo and descending harmony guitar lines, before a subliminal reggae breakdown leads us back to the hook.
The album as a whole is anchored by the more relaxed cool blues of ‘The River’, notable for a beautifully constructed climactic solo from de Lange, as the rhythm section pushes him to the limit.
They stylistically strip things down to the basics on ‘Soul On Fire’ – a rip tight, high octane, stop-time boogie that could be George Thorogood and the heavy boogie of ‘Rock & Roll Radio’, which though a bit obvious is a decent fist pumping anthem.
They round things off with a borrowed Deep Purple riff on the big sounding ‘The Rambler’, before de Lange’s double tracked harmony vocals turn it into something all of their own.
Mitchell Goor’s rumbling bass on the song’s break-down leads to one more dynamic tension busting guitar break, as the band head for a final uplifting chorus on a powerful ending, via a punctuated coda, to an immensely enjoyable rock-blues album.
Credit must also go to producer and mixer Guido Aalbers at Guisound studio for both the pristine sonic quality and the way he captures the band’s spark.
‘Lonesome Wolf doesn’t so much reinvent the rock-blues wheel as offer a timely reminder of what rock used to be in the pre auto-tune era. ****
Review by Pete Feenstra
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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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