Albany Down – Not Over Yet

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Review by Robert Baker

Albany Down are a four piece from London’s North with a sound as classic as it is contemporary. And whilst it’s undeniable there is a certain familiarity to their sound, it’s one of an era rather than of a specific band. Blues rock proclaimed and heavy on the blues, South of the City was Albany Down’s first album release in 2011 and showed off their influences without ever falling into imitation with its classic rock sound and dirty blues delivery. Retaining the employ of Manic Street Preachers and INME producer Greg Harver to be the one that hits ‘record’ for their second album, Albany Down are bringing more of their influences and indulgences to the surface in their second album Not Over Yet.

From the outset there’s an undeniable similarity to bands named after a kind of heavy balloon, an Eastern influenced intro giving way to an ass-kicking ‘70’s guitar rock riff that has guitarist Paul Turley leading the rest of the band through this Zeppelin-esque piece of mixing two obviously different styles to surprisingly inspiring effect in the familiar classic rock sound.

Vocally Paul Muir brings a voice that seems honest and real, unforced in its delivery and yet able to hold a note without losing the power behind it, ‘Take The Town’ a prime example of his skill. Musically it puts me in mind of American funk-fusioneers The Time, the jangling guitar funk riff in the verse and solid rock guitar chorus managing to drive the song along whilst letting you stop to sniff the flowers, and all with a dash of wah-pedal for some added funk throughout. ‘Man Like Me’ feels like it fell off the wagon train with its banjo beginnings and heavy wild west feel, Paul’s voice delivering the querulous notion of being with someone better than yourself in strained cries of impeachment that border on self-flagellation if they weren’t delivered so convincingly.

The Berry-blues on ‘My Lucky Streak’ is a wonderful show of captivating attention without needing immediate volume, the harmonica-laced guitar riff nicely bluesy and cool with the chorus attacking without violence. Bringing out the big guns sees ‘You Aint Coming Home’ as the epic; the band stamp their authority all over their claim to blues proponents, from the soulful guitar drenched in the cigarette fug of a dimly lit bar opening to the delivery of the vocals on a chorus that threaten to explode into cries of despair as they border on fragility and frustration, pity and piety.  Skilfully handled and expertly delivered, ‘She’s The Light’ returns the band to rocking steady and true with a  dirty riff and expansive vocals that swell and soar and show a more composed side to Paul’s style.

‘You Wanna Be My Baby’ and ‘Travelling Blues’ sees more rock and funk respectively, whilst ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ brings the wah pedal back out for the penultimate number. Here the band sound like they’re just cutting loose and enjoying themselves;  the performance and delivery is one of being with three other people all thinking and playing in the same frame of mind for those three and a half minutes, reflected in the almost-but-not-quite chaotic nature of song. Album closer ‘The Working Man’ is a fairly melancholic track to draw things to a close on, though mixes it up with some craftily deployed orchestral touches and blues guitar soloing that make this seven minute monster quite the number to sit through; it’s one of those songs you put on when it’s time for some quiet self-reflection and reaffirmation of the soul, and it’s certain to be a lighter in the air moment when played live.

Not Over Yet is a fairly big album in scope and sound, and shows there is still a band out there capable of holding the blues-rock reigns, though the gentle nods to certain bands of influence may feel like head butts to some.

Albany Down - Not Over Yet7 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Back Again
  2. You’d Better Run
  3. Take The Town
  4. Man Like Me
  5. Not Over Yet
  6. My Lucky Streak
  7. You Ain’t Coming Home
  8. She’s The Light
  9. You Wanna Be My Baby
  10. Travelling Blues
  11. Who Do You Think You Are
  12. The Working Man

 

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Fantastic honest review. no track called “You bring the light” though, you may want to edit that. And yes these guys are excellent. live.

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