Independent [Release date 01.11.19]
Step aside Anne and Nancy, there’s a new Favorite Bitch in town – big-lunged Sky Hunter and her cohorts who testify as StoneWire and they kick up one helluva sandstorm. This is an outstanding album of power-groove, riff-ridden rock – just about as pure a rock album as the definition allows.
More than ever these days, it’s all about the songs – and this collection ranks high, it’s as raw as a slapped bum but it’s somehow fresh and exciting. Interesting rock is hard to do these days, much has been attempted and many genres combined to differing effect. So, it’s uplifting to hear such vibrant life breathed into a well-worn genre. Check out the tracks “FTM” and “Life As We Know It” as perfect examples of what to expect from this outstanding record.
This is as good as Heart would have been had they had a triple by-pass….ready to thrive and survive in defiance, drawing in the listener, it’s neo-classic….a new infusion into the old trusted rock convention and StoneWire deliver emphatically.
Really cookin’ album, newsflash – rock lives large in bands like StoneWire. Remember those days of real commitment to a record purchase ? Pretend this was a £100 Japanese import and you plan to devour every groove, every lyric, every production credit and quirky footnote. I feel committed to this album like in the old days….it just held my interest which is really something in our “swipe-at-tripe” digital world. I kept expecting it to dip but it never did – there’s something to like about every song.
Sludgy slide and mud-dirty chords suit the sultry power of lead singer Sky Hunter perfectly but it’s the adventurousness and the confidence to drop a track like “Hero’s Journey” halfway through the album that astounds….that said, I seem to remember some epic last-track, side-ones (which I’m guessing this one might be on the vinyl). This one is just a colossal, epic peach of a track – almost seven minutes, a brick and a half of hot shit rock-banding.
Life As We Know It is an album which just has you grinning at the person next to you in that devil’s horn, scrunched up face way, a mike in hand with the cable wrapped around your fist….oh come on, you know what I’m talking about.
Top album – honest, inventive, not exactly out of left field but pushing the boundaries with impressive song structures and cutting execution. Watch out for StoneWire, they’re coming to getcha. And Sky won’t mind the Favorite Bitch reference – it’s a great track from their first album, When The Crow Flies. The label suggested reviewing the animated video for lead-off single “All That Matters” which is cool but then a deeper dive revealed that the quality of this album and StoneWire’s style is actually…..all that matters. ****1/2
Review by Mark “Mad Dog” Shaw
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GOODBYE JUNE Switchblade Heart (Earache)
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