Husky Tones ~ Time For A Change
Time For A Change is most definitely a modern blues album, self-penned originals with links to the past but not tied up in knots with trying to recreate the sound of the many blues influences cited by Husky Tones. The biography of the band members instantly hints at why for a debut album the music has a polished honed feel there is a confidence in the sound they want to produce, they all have earnt their music spurs playing live gigs.
Sometimes, when the words contemporary and blues are used together it is a shorthand for diluted blues or music that nods to the heart and soul of the music, not so with Husky Tones this is a band drenched in the blues.
Husky Tones have achieved the difficult mix of contemporary tones and beats without losing the integrity that is the blues meaning that Time For A Change is an album that needs to be listened to carefully and re-visited so that the feel of the music permeates into your music DNA. It is worth it as the music hums along the vocals are strong and the harp playing deftly applied on the tracks a debut album that makes you want to see them live.
With the combination of roles, Victoria Bourne is both vocalist with beguiling husky vocals and drummer, the rest of the band add voice as backing vocals giving a lyrical depth. Matthew Ricards with deep bass completes the rhythm section and then up front is Chris Harper guitarist and blues harp player Liam Ward a powerful quartet of musicians.
The inspiration behind the tracks are standard fodder for a blues album, personal to the band are a failed marriage, criminal ancestry, struggle and then there are the vexations that life brings us, bad luck, paying bills and uphill struggles. This Bristol based band has captured it all in music that is tight and recorded in the studio replicating the live sound as close as possible for example Victoria’s drumming and vocals were recorded simultaneously on all tracks.
Ten tracks that ebb and flow with changes of tempo, one thing that is consistent is a tone that makes the Husky Tones have a definitive sound. I am convinced Victoria is both back and centre of the band she leads the music with her commanding vocals that have a colour that changes reflecting the mood of every song. Eight of the numbers are full on band numbers with superb interaction between the harp and guitar two tracks break the template. The slower, It’s A Bitter Love With You Every Time has the combination of mournful harp from Liam and Victoria’s vocals capturing a mood that is both of now and from the past. It is a blending of what make blues still a fresh and relevant sound this is a track that allows the musicians to explore the emotion of the blues. The second track out of the loop that works equally well in shaping Time For A Change, is an instrumental Daybreak, Chris’ guitar is sweet and Liam’s Harp playing divine as the chords and tone creates a dark blues based mood. Every note perfectly placed in this instrumental picture in sound.
Other stand out tracks were Uncle Walter opening with the harp and the guitar underneath reminded me of early Hokie Joint, then the vocals that shaped the story giving this a tonal landscape for this ancestor. Some twangs added to the guitar and a beat that gets the feet tapping Rent Party Blues revisits not having enough money and the blues that brings but remaining positive by having a “Rent Party”
Closing the album with the title track reminds you that this is an album that is worth exploring with ten fine tracks that always holds your music ear. Definitely a band to go out and see live as they promote the album across the country.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT doodle paws out of TEN ….
1. I’m So Happy I’ve Got The Blues
2. I Dare You
3. Uncle Walter
5. Fortune Seeker
6. It’s A Bitter Love With You Every Time
7. Give Me Love
8. Rent Party
10. Time For A Change
Victoria Bourne – Lead Vocals and Drums
Chris Harper – Guitar and Backing Vocals
Matthew Richards – Bass and Backing Vocals
Liam Ward – Harmonica and Backing Vocals