Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Dan Korn - Dustbowl EP

Released October 25 
Harrison Music

When Dan Korn came of age he discovered Delta Blues
, Bob Dylan and began the humbling experience of learning guitar and dropping out, an important aspect of today’s modern rock star CV.

After writing poetry and prose throughout much of his childhood and taking the influences of long ago, much of Korn’s first original EP is simple, timeless and varied.

There are many different faces to the 'Dustbowl EP' with 40s jaunty jazz and slide guitar gracing the opening title track as Korn idly croons: “Dustbowl black hole in Oklahoma such a sorry scene and it’s killing me and it’s killing me,” before things get a bit more serious: “There’s a man in a bank to thank with a gut gone round and a worried frown, I’m going to put that man in the ground,” as he pays tribute to the lives of family Joad in Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes Of Wrath.

Kinked sunsets and a warming awareness of Britain’s rock heritage are ever apparent in the tumbling chorus of ‘Song For Syd’, Korn’s own tribute to one of his ultimate heroes, Syd Barrett, while Like A Dove’ begins with acoustic guitar and more of Korn’s fresh faced vocals before thundering riffage and crashing drums accompany the singer/songwriter’s declaration of love: “I told her I love and I’ll tell her I love her again. I may never recover I may never recover.

As ‘Lost Love Shanty’ wraps up this impressive offering with laid back vibes and precious harmonies it’s clear to see that Dan Korn has his eye on the ball and can crack the whip of several genres.

'Dustbowl EP' pays tribute to love, influence and literature and could well pave the way for future glory.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Kings Of Leon - Come Around Sundown

RCA Records

Out Now

You could talk about Kings Of Leon all day. 

After the huge success of ‘Only By The Night’, the album that propelled family Followill to the masses, they’ve rarely left the stage or the spot light.

But with triumph comes further scrutiny and since their fourth LP we’ve seen on-stage tantrums (Reading 2009,) stories of petulance and cries of over commerciality with pampered pretence replacing their back room country punk, matters which have caused some fans to leave their side.

This is a band no longer in transition and Kings Of Leon have chilled their game. Preceding comments of a “beachy” album are true on the whole and ‘Come Around Sundown’ is a record for open highways and stadium spectaculars, despite the fact it never quite hits top gear.

Opener ‘The End’ sets the tone with expansive sounds and reverbed arena rock showing that the Kings 
aren’t shying away from the path laid down by the album that sold over six million copies.

While there’s nothing here in the vein of ‘Four Kicks’, ‘Molly’s Chambers’ or ‘Black Thumbnail’, the band are furthering their musical exploration and the sounds of their heritage with ‘Back Down South’ and ‘Radioactive’ particularly indebted to their birthright as the latter howls: “It’s in the water, it’s where you came from,” to background gospel.

It seems that Kings Of Leon are finally beginning to slow up as the likes of ‘Pyro’, ‘Mary’ and ‘Mi Amigo’ all cruise down the middle of that open road to highlight the problem with ‘Come Around Sundown’, it’s all too nice and lacks their normal bite. But maybe that’s what it’s supposed to be.

While Kings Of Leon’s fifth album release in seven years isn’t as immediate, innovative or as exciting as we’ve come to expect, it is the sound of an accomplished band that are comfortable with what they’ve become and where they’re headed.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Colour Of Sound - When

Out Now

Red Grape Records

It’s the debut album for this four piece from Newport and with glowing reviews already behind them plus the likes of Phil Brown and Calum MacColl (Bob Marley, the Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck and Kirsty MacColl collectively)working behind the scenes, the future already looks fairly bright.

Despite their back room credentials Colour of Sound labour as they begin with the oddly placed ‘Take This Ride’ and take a wee while to find their feet. When the ball does begin to roll it tumbles into the Deep South as accomplished four way harmonies cast spells to a bluesy rocking chair chug.

It’s a far from chipper start and the tone changes to soulful rock balladry with ‘Open Room,' all thoughts of blues behind them as ‘Colour Of Sound’ cracks the same limp wristed whip with vocalist Rod da Rosa’s sobered husk: “In the end you’ll take your memories, your bronze, silver or gold. Don’t let them ever get you down, what goes always comes around, that’s the colour of sound.”

There’s a comforting warmth to ‘When’ and Colour of Sound do the job of feeling familiar and easy. You almost feel like you know the songs as they begin but with the nature of what’s on display, most notably ‘Here It Comes Again’ and ‘Someday’, it’s distinctly wedding rock or Radio 1 hit wonder. Generally quite boring.

Despite the clear talent that lies at their disposal and the superb band delivery, 'When' heads further and further into pop’s aesthetic misery and their every move is revealed before their hand is up with ‘Long, Long Time’ and ‘Don’t You Know When It’s All Over’ to end their thoroughly predictable game.

Swing and a miss.