Redline Records [Release date 31.01.20]
Take one of the best soulful, honey voiced rock-blues vocalists in the country and pair it with arguably the most intense guitar player on the circuit, then anchor them with a versatile rhythm section and season with gospel tinged bv’s and you have the perfect recipe for a magnificent rock-blues album with wide appeal.
From the colourful psychedelic album art work, via the call to arms of the title track, through the burgeoning power of the music as a whole, ‘Come Together’ radiates positivity.
The band rocks hard, grooves eloquently and gets soulful by turns, to make the most of tight arrangements with memorable hooks that linger long after the album finishes.
‘Come Together’ stretches both Marcus Malone and Innes Sibun’s artistic endeavours to forge a new broad based musical canvas that plays to their respective strengths.
It’s all there on the conceptual title track – topped and tailed by a cappella vocals on a power chord driven gospel tinged rocker – on which the visceral duo hammer out a barn busting opener.
It builds brilliantly to finally resolve itself with a Beatlesy finish including an ‘Abbey Road’ guitar line and a cappella outro.
The album is packed with superb vocals, bristling solos and is tempered by a groove laden feel, but it is the quality of the songs that stand out on a collaboration that pushes the ensemble to new creative heights.
There’s at least 6 career best songs on this album, from the opening title track and the slide-led Malone penned rocker ‘Let Me Love You’ – featuring a Sibun southern rock style solo – to the closing Memphis Soul influenced ‘Everyday’s A Miracle’ on which Malone vocal is supreme.
Then there’s the two truly two outstanding Sibun compositions, the Robert Cray influenced ‘I Want You Back’ and the deep blues of ‘So Tired Of Living’.
The latter benefits from his masterful guitar work and Malone’s evocative phrasing over the peerless rhythm section of bassist Roger Innis and drummer Chris Nugent who subtly push the groove as Sibun builds a trademark climactic solo.
The song shows both the band’s diversity and melodic sensibility in a perfect balance between song craft and a stellar performance.
‘I Want You Back’ is another highlight. Malone’s phrasing brings the lyrics to life on a lilting groove with an intricate opening guitar line, a gospel tinged hook, a burning solo and a beautifully nuanced double coda.
‘Taste Of Your Love’ is a yearning harmony heavy song on which Sibun switches from acoustic to electric guitar to briefly evoke Mick Taylor before a perfect vocal block outro.
‘Come Together’ flows effortlessly from opening brace of rockers into blues, a rock ballad and 4 minutes of rock and roll on ‘Jodie’, which could have been Dave Edmunds Rockpile at their best. The band bobs and weaves it’s way round the blues imperative before a heavy rocker ‘Lovelight’.
And if the macho strut of ‘She’s My Girl’ is a nod to Malone’s early solo career, then the Dylan influenced percussive rocker and thematic duality of ‘Rabbit Hole’ illustrates his lyrical acumen, before the perfect gospel-led bookend of ‘Everyday’s A Miracle’.
The band sounds as if it’s been has been together forever. What you are hearing is the sheer joy de vivre of making music and the coming together of musical spirits on a superb self production.
‘Come Together’ contains ten tracks of the best in rocking blues with a soulful feel and a gospel heart. Put simply, its contemporary blues at its finest on one of the most impressive rock-blues debut albums in recent times. *****
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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