Album review: THE RECORD COMPANY – Early Songs And Rarities

THE RECORD COMPANY – Early Songs And Rarities

Snakefarm/Universal [Release date 14.02.20] (vinyl only)

Such is the demand for new product from Billboard top five debuting band, The Record Company, that their old product – their “recorded in the front room” tracks, following them from the past like juicy little rock’n'roll breadcrumbs – has been gathered together and become the sound of vinyl.

In fact, the band – Chris Voss, Alex Stiff and Mark Cazorla – released the collection as a “snapshot” of the band’s rough and tumble blues/rock beginnings, on Record Store Day, November 2019. It’s now been given a full release by Snakefarm/Universal Records.

The tracks, mostly self penned, with some covers, form the foundation that underpinned the band’s sound on their two “mainstream” albums, “Give It Back To You” (2106) and “All Of This Life” (2018). Even in this raw condition, they reveal a range and sophistication that caused heads to turn and led to that major signing.

The band’s fondness for a rootsy Bo Diddley beat permeates their music relentlessly. You can hear it take flight on ragged edged opener, ‘Darlin Jane’ and add muscle and sinew to a rhythmic ‘Medicine Man’. Coming early in the album, it makes the band’s self confessed influences crystal clear.

One of the collection’s several highlights is an alternate take of the plaintive ballad, ‘Crooked City’, where they cleverly create a love song out of a comment on corruption. Voss’ convincing vocal resolves the apparent mismatch, carrying the song to a satisfying conclusion.

The band’s influences are further revealed by their choice of covers. There’s a raucous, howling take on Jimmy Reed’s classic blues song, ‘Bright Lights Big City’, full of rolling piano and wailing harmonica, and there’s a perceptive rework of the Grateful Dead’s ‘New Speedway Boogie’, paring it down to spare, mountain men instrumentation… harmonica, acoustic guitar and primitive beats.

Highlights elsewhere would be ‘Goodbye Sad Eyes’ , if only because of the awesome slide guitar. And the bluesy, post coital love song (now, there’s not many of them around), ‘Aint Love Warm’, an earthy, self penned piece from 2013. With very little, they create an hypnotic atmosphere of such warmth and depth that the band become seduced by their own tale. They originally made this track available to the public via Bandcamp, and word of mouth gave them something of an instant profile.

An overwhelming sense of anticipation develops as you work your way through the collection. It’s as if you hear them gathering their energy, preparing for something bigger. No question, this trio have talent to burn. It’s no wonder that Rolling Stone magazine listed them on their “10 New Bands You Need To Know” list, back in 2016, the year of the debut.

Review by Brian McGowan

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In this show, first broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 2 February 2020, David Randall plays a selection of tracks from some of the artists who impressed at this year’s Giants Of Rock event in Minehead (24-27 January).

Featured Albums w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 NEWMAN Ignition (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 BLACK SWAN Shake The World (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 CORMAC O CAOIMH Swim Crawl Walk Run (indie)

Power Plays w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)

SHAKRA Turn The Light On (AFM Records)
THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA Transmissions (Nuclear Blast)
RYDERS CREED Lost Soul (Off Yer Rocka Recordings)
FRAMING HANLEY Puzzle Pieces (Thermal Entertainment LLC)
ROBERT HART Mysterious (Escape Music)

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