woensdag 16 mei 2018

Hamish Anderson and The Band of Heathens

In the coming days both Hamish Anderson and The Band of Heathens will tour The Netherlands. Let's take a look at both acts' latest albums for a short review.

Trouble. Hamish Anderson
Hamish Anderson is an Australian roots rocker who knows his way in blues rock, country rock and souther rock. His sound is direct. What you see is what you get. Listening to the title track opening the album is like walking into a room and seeing the welcoming bed there meant only for you. The sound is familiar, the song as such has been played a thousand times before and yet 'Trouble' is everything I want to hear in this kind of music. A rough voice, a rough guitar sound, a warm organ, and a firm rhythm section that does all it is supposed to.

Further on in the album Anderson is not afraid to infuse some pop and even soul into his rock. His guitar playing comes through in all songs. 'Fire' is one of the examples where this mix works extremely well.

Where originality is concerned Hamish Anderson does not score very high. All you hear on Trouble you will have heard before. In execution and songwriting skills you will find he compensates more than abundantly. This album is simply fun and extremely enjoyable at any time of the day. Compare him to Jon Allen, who's new album 'Blue Flame' has not made it (yet?) to these pages and Hamish Anderson wins, two fingers in his nose.

There's one minor complaint. For someone stating to love the blues as much as Hamish Anderson does, Trouble is a bit too neat in some songs. Jim Scott produced him on the safe side of the blues equation. In 'Hold On Me' Anderson shows that he is able to rock out dirty as well. Steve Berlin's baritone sax helps out here as well. The sixties pastiche 'My Love' is in total agreement with Peter & Gordon

Duende. The Band of Heathens
The Band of Heathens? Didn't I see that band play live once? The answer lies in the year before this blog started, 2011. I remember a singer in a striped t-shirt and at least three lead singers alternating among each other. Some blistering soloing as well. Of course, I'd say, in the Q-Bus in Leiden, where else?

Now the band is touring the country again soon, I found the latest cd in my mailbox and decided to take a serious listen. In part I can refer to the previous review above here. Originality is not what someone should be looking for in The Band of Heathens from Austin, Texas. A lot of things U.S., call it Americana, and U.S./Mexican (Los Lobos) come by on Duende. A song like 'Last Minute Man' is pure Los Lobos; on an acoustic guitar.

Live this band is so good. It is able to rock and sooth within the same show. On record the music is somewhat more laidback and sophisticated. The singing and playing is however superb. Just listen to the acoustic guitar solo in 'Keys To The Kingdom' or the soft balladry of 'Cracking The Code', with some 60s flavoured keyboard infusion included. The variation in styles on this album shows what this band is able to muster successfully. The songs are all able to effortlessly fit in with the ones that inspired them to be written. E.g. the riff opening 'Trouble Came Early' is classic Keith, the slide guitar classic Ronny, the piano classic Ian/Nicky/Chuck, depending on the time of recording.

So also one complaint here. The final song, 'Green Grass Of California' is a bit cheesy, soft country. So here you have the only complaint on a whole album. Yes, it would have fit in with The Flying Burrito Brothers. So if you like that band, you are still alright.

Duende is a word meaning "a quality of inspiration and passion". The title of this album could not be more correct. Calling an album Duende and too fall short ought not to be an option. The Band of Heathens simply delivers.


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