It has been a while since I posted any reviews on here... so a catch up on the latest purchases, actually probably better this way as they have been in the car a few days now so this is a considered review rather than one after the initial listen.
Elbow - Build a Rocket Boys
I absolutely loved their last album and was turned on to them only after that had been out a while and I saw them on a TV show with an orchestra. This one I'd not heard much off, only a couple of tracks on a Jools Holland show but thought I'd give it a shot. Brilliant. It took a while to grow - at the end of the first listening I was taking it out the player thinking, "Hmm - didn't really listen to that closely" and I worried it wasn't up there. After listening a few more times it is right up there now in contention for CD of the year. Beautifully crafted songs, great vocals with lyrics that are way beyond the average. Some are wistful little ballads others huge athemic tunes crying out for a festival... if you caught any of the bands performance at Glastonbury on the TV you'll agree with me I think that they are a band that do fill a festival space and draw in a crowd. One off thing I don't get though is that the big hits off the last one were all over Radio 1 a couple of years back, this time no coverage that I've heard... have they become Radio 2 so quickly? Highlights are Lippy Kids and the "everyone sing" Open Arms.
James Vincent McMorrow - Early In The Morning
From a 20 year old established act to a debut album. But one that frankly is great stuff - James is I think from Ireland. Again heard a bit from my daughters room as she'd found him on Spotify etc. and then saw him on Jools. I was very impressed with the live sound and my daughter got me the CD for Father's Day... probably so she could rip it to her iPod!!! James is in the realm of the post Mumford folk arena - which is no doubt unfair but I think that the Mumford's really did open up prime air play to people like him. He has a great voice, unique, restrained and different. Kick off track is It I Had a Boat which is really good and the highlight is Breaking Hearts which is probably the track you're most likely to have heard elsewhere.
City and Colour - Living Hell.
Dallas Green is the guitarist with Alexisonfire, City and Colour is his side project - a very folky influenced array of material, although Living Hell has more of a band than solo singer/guitarist feel to it than previous releases. Another find of my daughters which has now found me purchasing the CDs for her to rip!! This is the most complete output from Dallas so far... btw do you get it with the name... Dallas Green... City and Colour... very good isn't it ;-) Still leaning to folky and at time to me reminisent of Counting Crows at times this is a far cry from his output with Alexisonfire. Again if you like David Gray, Counting Crows, Mumford & Sons it'll be at least worth a listen. Natural Disaster and Little Hell are the stand out tracks for me.
Black Country Communion - 2
All three above are fairly wistful, folky, layered, textured productions. BCC 2 is not! This is a raw rocker. BCC's first album was a big hit of mine last year but I have to say given the hype that especially Glen Hughes gave the band before that album came out I have to admit it possibly wasn't as good as I'd hoped. 2 is better - way better and what Glen was saying makes more sense now. Loads of rock references, loads of Led Zep sounds - notably on The Battle for Hadrian's Wall which is one of the Joe Bonamassa penned tracks which JB takes lead vocals on - the other is An Ordinary Son which is another stand out. But then there is the overdrive starter of The Outsider that kicks it all off with a great riff and then Hughes vocal crashing in telling exactly what to expect for the next hour. Bonham is a great drummer - as good as his Dad? Hmm - unfair comparison his Dad was a one off but really Jason is a massively good rock drummer and he really helps make this album great. JB is just Mr Bonamassa simply sublime... heavy rock/blues throughout slipping from Led Zep like riffs and licks through AC/DC in your face rockers, Free/Bad Company pomp onto a spooky Gary Moore impression and Jeff Beck noddles. Sherinian is unstated but hints of Yes, Genesis etc. lean the band towards prog rock at times but without the pretentiousness that can go with that. And then under it all the thundering bass of Mr Hughes counterpointed with his own voice. Now - there is a lad who can sing!! Obviously shades of Deep Purple are unavoidable when you hear him but there are plenty of other references to. Best rock album of the year? Hard to see it beaten in my eyes and clearly an overall contender for album of the year overall.