Self release [Release date 20.03.20]
Triple J Trio is a powerhouse British rock-into-blues and boogie outfit, powered by the formidable rhythm section of Jeff Rich (Quo/Stretch/Climax Blues Band etc) and The Beat’s bassist Andy Pearson.
They are joined by the explosive Jamie Godfrey on guitar and vocals who helps channel the band’s power into melodic hard rocking blues.
Godfrey is an old-school rock vocalist who on the opening Quo inspired title track adds lashing of guitar to match his husky vocals.
It’s a high-octane opener that sets the standard for the rest of a hard-hitting album which occasionally dips into blues, but never loses sight of the intensity required to rock hard.
In fact, they open with a brace of rockers, of which the tremolo intro to the raucous shuffle ‘So Far So Good’ goes for the throat.
The booming intro could be Walter Trout at his best, while the song owes much to Jimmy Witherspoon’s ‘Times Are Getting Tougher Than Tough’, until Godfrey’s venomous jagged edged solo rips into the heart of it.
The album is built on the drum tight (pun intended) rhythm section of Rich and Pearson who build the grooves from the ground upwards, shuffle when they need to and always provide the sheer drive to ignite Godfrey’s fuse.
Not everything works quite as well as. For while the mid-paced blues of ‘I Know Your Name’ opens like a muscular Jack Bruce piece, the guitar solo strangely doesn’t quite deliver the tension breaking resolution you might expect.
Then there’s the acoustic-into-electric and flint-edged ‘Red Flag’, which sounds much more impressive on its own than when part of the album as a whole.
The mid-number acoustic drop-down and a swift return to full velocity rock provides the dynamic counterweight to Godfreys tendency to attack his vocal in the same manner on a succession of songs.
His phrasing is much more imaginative on a change of pace as he leans into the melodic soulful ballad ‘Better Late Than Never,’ while on the buzz-tone dirgy Woman Like You’ his high register vocal comes close to Sabbath era Ozzy Osbourne.
‘Better Days’ works hard to find different ways to rock hard. The album is probably a couple of great songs short of the full set, but there’s enough full throttle rocking here to keep hard rock and rocking blues fans happy.
For example, the bristling rhythm section powers its way through ‘I Bleed The Same Blood As The Blues’, as Godfrey glues the track together with some raucous slide and a chanted hook that will surely lead to some dance floor fist pumping in ordinary times.
Godfrey also evokes Peter Green twice, making the best use of the space offered him on the slow blues ‘I Smell A Rat,’ on which he adds some tremolo sounding emotive guitar lines and an impassioned vocal to great effect.
But he waits until the end of the album to finally unveil a direct connection with Green on Fleetwood Mac’s buoyant shuffle ‘Stop Messin’ Round’ which features a fine vocal and some piecing guitar lines.
There’s also the funky ‘Nutbush City Limits ’ style intro of ‘Man Feeling Bad’ which doesn’t quite light the fuse, though the vocal does sound a little like Faces era Rod Stewart.
‘Better Days’ is a solid 2nd album from the JT Trio and given a free reign of gigs the songs will surely develop organically.
As it is, fans will have to do the work by buying the record, and giving it a good airing, safe in the knowledge that there’s a first class, hard rocking British power trio waiting in the wings to rock hard with the best of them. ***½
Review by Pete Feenstra
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