Frontiers [Release date 12.02.21]
Debut album from Kreek, a new band built around ex Bigfoot vocalist, Antony Ellis. It’s produced by Night By Night & Passion vocalist/guitarist, Dan Rosall.
It’s surprising that this one got past Frontiers generally on-the-ball quality control team. Maybe they were isolating somewhere. Or maybe it’s just that the first 4 tracks were rushed to meet a label deadline.
That aside, what’s most directly striking is Ellis’s vocal resemblance to Steve Augeri and Danny Vaughn. He fits neatly between the two in singing style and vocal timbre. Is that a good thing? Well, its familiarity will gain an immediate audience, but perhaps its lack of originality will deter the discerning listener.
On those first 4 tracks his voice is full of kinetic energy but little direction. In places the vocal harmonies are off and it doesn’t help that the songs sound incomplete, half formed, in need of a major makeover.
Then we get to ‘One Voice’. It seems totally different – band, producer, arranger, songwriter. All of the above. Who knows, maybe the song’s narrative, tackling the thorny subjects of guilt and resolve, raised their game. It finds an immediate groove and locks in tight. It has drive and purpose. Its densely packed harmony vocals have a Siagon Kick, and Nick Clark’s razoring solo axework in the middle section neatly twins up on an oriental vibe. It’s a compelling piece.
‘Man On My Shoulder’ and ‘Stand Together’ continue in that vein. Both lighter in dramatic weight perhaps, but both are lyrically and musically strong, and are happy to dish out bruising, ironclad rock’n'roll, with not too little charm, and a degree of originality.
They up the ante even more with the last 3 tracks.
‘Get Up’ is where Ellis sounds best, belting out well written, meat and 2 veg hard rock, with a tantalising hint of glam and metal glinting in the chorus. It’s tense, taut and unshowy. By keeping a tight rein on the sweaty, smouldering ‘Down’n'Dirty’, they make the same statement, keeping a firm grip of the escalating emotions, as the heat builds and the steam rises.
Inevitably, they close with a ballad (we were getting worried there), the very ungentlemanly titled “Girl, You’re On Your Own’. It’s a bluesy piece in the vein of Aerosmith or Tesla, powerful and commercial, and Ellis delivers with chest beating conviction. A closer worth waiting for. ***
Review by Brian McGowan
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