So many different styles, but it hangs together on its classic British rock sound.
Label: Vintage Voice
Time: 11 tracks / 38 mins
Around the time I first heard this disc, I caught people using a Led Zeppelin shortcut to describe them, but while there are similarities in places (and producer Gavin Monaghan has worked with Robert Plant) that is a red herring.
Along with the twangy riff to “Drowning without You”, the riff and big drums of “Love is the Drug that you Crave” show where the idea comes from, but the latter and “I’m not Ashamed” also have just as much in common with bands like The Small Faces.
So they have a strikingly classic British rock sound.
But there are so many different sounds spread across this collection that it is a waste of time to mark out many similar artists. They are their own men. More important than the sound is the strength of their songs. Melodies abound. Hooks catch. Ears smile.
Tess Jones is the man who gives the band its name and, when he lets his vocals get warbly, he reminds me of the Decemberists’ Colin Meloy. He heads up a band with a simple four-man line-up: two guitars, bass and drums; but the extra acoustic guitar, piano and mandolin hints at their sonic range.
Songs like the adrenalized “You Take Me out of my Head” seem designed for maximum live effect; “Face the Changes” has a sing-out chorus; “The Waves Break us Down” is essentially vocals, guitar and strings; while “This Higher Ground,” the lovely, soulful “Summer Rain” and “Believe” are pieces to close your eyes to and sway to.
The latter two, along with “I’m Not Ashamed” are titles than can be found on Christian albums, but the songs are about relationship issues – trust, disappointment, support and hope – rather than spiritual ones.
Occasionally you find more angular tracks, like the Foosy “Mother Daughter Son” or “Digging at my Bones,” that don’t feel quite as complete or satisfying as others, but this is a very solid album that reflects the band’s substantial grass roots support.