Review by Will Harris
What can change in three years? This is the amount of time since the Kris Pohlmann Band’s last LP, New Resolution, and their answer to that question is, apparently, very little. Continuing in the same blues rock vein as their last record, the Düsseldorf power trio show no signs of changing their tune with One For Sorrow. That’s not to say there’s any problem with finding a winning formula and sticking to it, but the key to the success of such a method remains in having a winning formula in the first place.
The most notable departure from the first record is a more polished and dynamic production, which gives a great kick to lively opener ‘Soulshaker’, a song that swings and rocks in equal measure. There’s plenty more fun to be had on other tracks, too, with a hoard of funky pentatonic riffs and catchy choruses, such as that of ‘Living A Lie’, or the Clutch-esque refrain of ‘Believe’. By the middle of the album, unfortunately, the album’s weaknesses begin to show and wear thin. Pohlmann’s vocals, though not poor, don’t really have much power, and soon become repetitive and predictable, mostly following clichéd, unadventurous blues melodies. The lyrics themselves are similarly trite: lines such as “All the things that you do / Make me lose control” are unimaginative at best, and combined with an uninteresting vocal delivery mean you never really connect to the songs.
The guitar playing, too, is frustratingly unadventurous. The solos are largely solid, well-executed runs — clearly demonstrating some talent on Pohlmann’s part — but there’s a distinct lack of any real expression or freshness about any of them. It would be unreasonable to ask anyone suddenly be Joe Bonamassa or Eric Clapton, for instance, but Pohlmann aggravatingly makes no choice between the facemelting flair of the former or the perfect phrasing of the latter, and instead picks a well-trodden but uninteresting line miles from either. Nowhere is this clearer than on the instrumental Gary Moore-inspired title track, which provides the perfect opportunity for Pohlmann to really blaze, but instead is presented as an assortment of directionless licks.
On a first spin, many listeners will likely have nothing too bad to say about it, but it’s the flaws of One For Sorrow that quickly show and grate after a few listens. All of this seems a shame as KPB’s first album, though imperfect, showed signs of potential for a highly dynamic and exciting blues rock band, but here, however, it simply seems that in the three years since their last album the group have failed to really develop; the old saying, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, only really works when there’s nothing to fix.
5.5 out of 10
- One Day Baby
- Living A Lie
- The Blues Inside
- Nothing’s Real
- Nowhere To Run, Nowhere To Hide
- Bad For Me
- Don’t Make A Fool Of Me
- One For Sorrow
- Heavy On My Soul