The Bella Reunion – Introducing…


A potentially exceptional band in gestation…

Review by Will Harris

American Girl Studios

Release date:1st August 2014

It’s a common blues band story: over many years, separate musicians write their own stories, building up expertise and experience in diverse groups until, one by one, they stick together into the same solid unit, one that – when it feels right – they’re all happy enough to give it a name. Such is how the Australian-based, partially British-raised classic blues outfit The Bella Reunion came to be, a group held up by 20 years grizzled experience and some impressive credentials (Ray Davies, Louisiana Red) but only formed over the last five years. Their debut EP, Introducing… showcases the enjoyable fruits of that combined knowledge, even if they are still finding their toe-tappin’ feet.

What first places TBR apart from their peers is the distinctive tone and grit to Irish singer-songwriter Alan Boyle’s voice, a valuable and distinguishable instrument (the blues, after all, needs as many of these as it can get). Approaching from blue-eyed soul, he wrenches out gravel-throated lines of masochistic love on maudlin minor blues ‘Tell Me Why’, and makes a phenomenal closer of ‘Lay Me Down Easy’, by setting alight the soul ballad rumination on heartbreak with a superb Otis Redding-esque interpretation. The rest of the band ain’t bad either: Harvey’s classic-style guitar phrasing complements the slick Chicago shuffle of ‘Bullet’, while notes of Peter Green pervade the guitar solo to ‘This Ain’t Love’’s Latin beat. Ceaseless unpredictable jazz piano from Aussie Steve Russell energises ‘Big City Lights’, a track with a loose framework that allows the whole band to shine. The enjoyable material breaks no new ground, but with the talent demonstrated here, Introducing… shows a potentially exceptional band in gestation.

The Bella Reunion – Introducing7 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Bullet
  2. Tell Me Why
  3. Shuffle St
  4. This Ain’t Love
  5. Sort It Out
  6. Big City Lights
  7. Lay Me Down Easy