Stubb – Stubb

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Review by Jason Guest

According to their biog, London’s Stubb “build on the foundations laid down by the pioneers of the 60s and 70s and continue the journey of the power trio through the 21st Century,” so psychedelic blues riffs and classic stomping rock with lyrics about love, loss, the open road, women and the powerful force of nature is the order of the day. Apparently recorded live with little in the way of overdubs, Stubb’s debut shows a band that work as a tight and focussed unit that allow themselves to be enveloped by the music and produce a pretty big classic rock sound, for the most part anyway. For a significant part of the album, the rhythm section are, frankly, flatter than a road kill omelette. While Dickinson is a guitarist with a penchant for tasty lead work, Hendrix-like chords, and rocking riffs, the bass and drums happily sit back and repeat over and over again the same riff, rarely seizing the opportunity to dig into the groove and slam away with the same fervour as the guitarist. Too often, Stubb sound like a singer/guitarist with a hired rhythm section; a real shame because bassist Pete Holland and drummer Chris West are clearly more than capable of colouring the songs with dynamic flair. The blues shuffle of ‘Scale The Mountain’ and the nuanced fills and lines of ‘Soul Mover’ are fine examples of what Stubb can do when the members converge in the sonic plane. The latter half of the album is where Stubb get it just about right, particularly with ‘Crying River’ where the grooves are deep, the lead work inspired, the chords and the riffs are subtle and moving, and the vocal performance and lyrics are balanced with the feel of the songs.

Stubb’s debut is better than average but their insistence on suffocating the songs by leaning to heavily on the riffs rather than jamming them out and breathing life into them lets the album down. There are more than a few moments here that indicate that they can truly kick out the jams – such as the Sabbath-styled jam that makes the latter half of ‘Hard Hearted Woman’ – and should this capability be harnessed and exploited, Stubb could produce a dynamic album with the same kind of groove and feel found in the albums of the 60s and 70s bands that they so obviously revere. A band to watch…

6 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Road
  2. Scale The Mountain
  3. Flame
  4. Soul Mover
  5. Crosses You Bear
  6. Hard Hearted Woman
  7. Crying River
  8. Galloping Horses