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Sunday, January 22, 2012



JC Brooks
& The Uptown SoundWant More (Bloodshot) :: Look, that album title may be rhetorical but my answer is an unabashed YES because this is the down ’n’ dirty album of unsifted grit that the Rolling Stones were trying to make when they recorded Black And Blue fuelled by Wonder Bread instead of Natty Dread. I’m tellin’ ya, this soulful excursion of funky delicacies is the hottest hip-shaker you’ll hear this side of vintage James Brown. I didn’t think they made groovalicious records like this anymore but, boy howdy, this is one time I’m glad I’m wrong because JC is the new JB with power to spare. Bonus points for mainlining one of the best smack songs I’ve ever heard and then having the additional brainpan smarts to call it “Sister Ray Charles.”

Sacred Balance
Sacred Balance (self released) :: I’m not kidding, the drums on the first track are so brutally bludgeoning they sound like they were helmed by John Bonham fresh from recording Physical Graffiti. Then, luckily for my heart, things settle down after that into a more reasonable groove, fronted by the ever impressive Chloe Charles—no relation to Sister Ray—whose expressive vocals, as always, are gracefully ethereal and worth the price of admission alone.

Action/Reaction (Bongo Beat) :: Just when you thought that there’s nothing new or notable to listen to these days, along comes this innovative quartet of fresh-faced modern day swingsters who are aesthetically savvy enough to harmoniously fuse the best of today’s anarchic proto-punk bands with the kind of infectious new wave pop musik that’ll easily infiltrate your brain and super-saturate your senses!

Now normally this is the part of the review where I’d compare these four cool cats to someone else so you’ll know what to expect, but The Diodes are so gosh-darned original that it’s nigh-on impossible for me to do so!

First and foremost, guitarist John Catto has an uncanny aptitude for being able to write the prototypical three minute pop song at a moment’s notice! Toe tapping tunes like “Rock It” and “That Was The Way It Was” are primo primed note-perfect examples of what I’m talking about—and that goes double for the title track! But it’s the radio friendly first single “Catwalker” that’s destined to propel The Diodes up to the toppermost of the poppermost and keep them there!

Then there’s singer Paul Robinson, who delivers the lyrics with a dynamic double-tracked drawling diction which draws on a rarely used mid-Western aesthetic that’s additionally overtly European but never obviously so!

That leaves the anchoring rhythm section of bass boss Ian Mackay and skin stroker Mike Lengyell to make sure that the exuberant heavier than heavy proceedings keep from soaring up into the supersonic stratosphere!

I predict great things for The Diodes because Action/Reaction proves that they’re years—if not century-spanning decades—ahead of their time!

Be seeing you!

Sun, January 22, 2012 | link 

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