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Thursday, 26 July 2012

Reviews: Baroness, The Gaslight Anthem, Shooter Jennings

Baroness: Yellow & Green (Relapse)

Having only recently got into Baroness (shame on me I know). I quickly bought their first two albums in preparation for this their third. Both of those albums are fantastic but no preparation at all for the aural experience of Yellow & Green. Split into two discs (Yellow and Green surprisingly) both feature 9 distinctly different songs that encompasses hard rock , Stoner metal see Take My Bones Away, folk, country, blues all wrapped in a psychedelic bow mainly on Yellow's Cocainium. The band have always been hard to classify in terms of genre and this is a good thing as the band keep it fresh on every track. There are reasons for why the band have been compared to Mastodon as singer/multi-instrumentalist John Baizley sounds astoundingly like Brent Hinds when he shouts but to make this comparison is lazy as Baroness have a far more melodic and varied musical palate than the Atlantan madmen. With their Red Album and their Blue Record they have set the bar high but on Yellow & Green they have created a magnum opus. Fantastic 9/10

The Gaslight Anthem: Handwritten (Mercury)

New Jersey's The Gaslight Anthem prove that there is more to the state than its well publicised shore. The band have continued with their mix of punk rock, merging the working man's heroes of Springsteen (see Mae as an example) and Tom Petty's discography. Brian Fallon has continued his tradition of strong title tracks with Handwritten being one of the strongest tracks on the album with Keepsake being pure Heartbreaker territory and the rest of the album just as strong. Fallon's voice is still brilliantly raw and heartfelt, the rest of the band are very skilful and bring authenticity to the bands modern retro sound, which is aided by Brendan O' Brien's superbly organic production. Yes the songs are very similar to that of their influences but they are performed with such exuberance and professionalism that they sound fresh. Another very strong rock album from a band that will soon be a global phenomenon. Mark my words 8/10

Shooter Jennings: Family Man (Entertainment One)

After his brief flirtation with pure hard rock on his previous album (albeit under the guise of Hierophant) Shooter Jennings has returned with a new album of 'pure' country and a new backing band called the 'The Triple Crown' (his previous outfit 'The .357's are now Hierophant) this album features a link between all of the songs this link being the country staple of family. First track The Real Me features the opening lyric "I wake up with my children, Right around the crack of noon" and from here Jennings spins his home-grown wisdom over ten tracks and the quality of the album rarely dips with all the songs great country yarns filled with regret, love and tales from both sides of the American Dream. The production is good considering this is Jennings’s first self-produced album it is rich and warm. Jennings will probably never achieve the success he has in America over here (due to country's stigma over here) but until then he will remain one of the top country acts that nobody knows. 8/10

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