The epitome of a good time band…
Reviewed by Rich Ward
Release date: 9 February 2015
2014 was the year Blackberry Smoke eventually made their mark on the UK. The release of The Whipporwill album in February was the first UK release by the band, although it was their third album, and the subsequent tour saw venue upgrades aplenty with tickets sales buoyant from considerable airplay. The latter half of the year saw them keep up momentum with the release of a double live album and another tour of larger venues.
With such activity it seems hard to believe that album number 4 is upon us already. Produced by Brendan O’Brien (AC/DC, Springsteen, Pearl Jam), you may expect this to be a slightly rockier affair than previous outings, and while there are heavier moments, none of their variety is lost. Opening track ‘Let Me Help You (Find The Door)’ with swirling keys and guitar is reminiscent of early Tom Petty. ‘Holding All The Roses’ itself is an up tempo country rock classic and is complemented by violin and searing lead guitar breaks; the kind of country rock of a moonshine gang chasing you in a pickup with pitchforks set to stun.
For those who have bought the Leave A Scar live album will already be familiar with ‘Payback’s A Bitch’, and indeed a couple of these tracks were aired at their recent UK shows too. The tight harmonies are there as you’d expect and even when the subject matter and lyrics are clearly quite downbeat such as on ‘Living In The Song’, the delivery and passion of the music is uplifting. Ultimately, Blackberry Smoke is the epitome of a good time band.
‘Rock And Roll Again’ is one of the more simple songs on the album, with an almost Quo like quality. It’s also one of the most memorable. It will get under your skin and get stuck in your brain; you’ll be humming this one for months. It’s a very cohesive album and for all the variety be it blues, country, folk or straight ahead rock all the songs sit very well together. Who said bands didn’t make ‘albums’ anymore?
All in all a solid album that should delight existing fans and help push the band’s profile higher still in the UK. The album comes in a number of formats; CD, download, and an array of limited edition vinyl versions that are sure to become collectors’ items in years to come.
8 out of 10
- Let Me Help You (Find The Door)
- Holding All The Roses
- Living In The Song
- Rock And Roll Again
- Woman In The Moon
- Too High
- Wish In One Hand
- Randolph County Farewell
- Payback’s A Bitch
- Lay It All On Me
- No Way Back To Eden
- Fire In The Hole