Album review : THE SIDNEY GREEN STREET BAND – The Sidney Green Street Band

The Sidney Green Street Band

Self release [Release date 03.07.14]

The Sidney Green Street Band is a decent New Jersey based, bar room band with a fine musical pedigree.

The band comprises top notch muso’s with a CV that includes Ian Hunter, John Cale, Gary US Bonds, Paul McCartney and Joe Cocker to name but a few. But while their collective CV speaks for itself, the band only sparkles intermittently on a relaxed mix of southern tinged rocking boogie that reflects the geographic and musical roots of their principal song writer Lance Das.

Fellow guitarist Justin Jordan stokes up the fiery riffs to ensure that the band is never firing on anything less than full velocity. The album combines occasional hard riffing with slide guitar led boogie, southern rock, bluesy grooves and funk but never quite nails a defining song or direction.

They set their own standard with the mellifluous funky groove of the Skynyrd influenced ‘Bye Bye Bye’. It’s a rock sold groove with a southern rock feel, which smoulders without quite catching fire, as the spiralling twin guitars joust for supremacy. ‘Divine’ is a similarly southern influenced rock ballad that nicely percolates and slips into a laid back groove.

The band sounds as if it’s honed its chops in the cutting edge bars of their native New Jersey, but what the album lacks is a clear identity and a brighter production. Too often the songs only reveal themselves after the half way point, as on the best two numbers, of which ‘Some Things Ain’t Never Gonna Change’ is a laid back melodic groove with a defining wah-wah solo and ‘Number’, which shifts through the gears impressively on a tough riffing boogie.

For the rest, the band labours on some mid-tempo material that often flatters to deceive. The songs are solid enough and the playing is never less than excellent, but the album lacks variety and bite.

‘Bama Bounce’ for example, is a dirgy slide-slide boogie that never quite shakes of its languor, while ‘Sadie Sadie’ is harmony led pop-rock, with shades of Ian Hunter’s ‘Once Bitten Twice Shy’, which ultimately deflects the band from their true rocking path.

‘Paying the Price’ is a notable exception, benefiting from a strong vocal that drags the band over the coals on a Skynyrd influenced song.

Ultimately The Sidney Green Street Band offers occasional flashes of inspiration, but mostly they sound like a classy club band in search of stronger material.  ***

Review by Pete Feenstra

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