It is not often my very rusty French is put to the test but, with all of the sites on this French band in their home language, it was either that or the very dodgy (and occasionally hilarious) Google translate…fortunately the primary language is, of course, the music.
Anyway, here we have the second release from The Red Goes Black, which I didn’t have to translate as they have chosen that appellation. The album is simply called Fire and, according to them, is to be filed under ‘rhythm and blues’. The band has been together for around ten years and their first album, I Quit You Dead City, was apparently well received in their homeland when it came out in 2015. They’re a five-piece and they list their first or, in some cases, nick-names only. However, as I said, it is the music that matters and the eleven tracks on offer are certainly R’n’B influenced but with a big chunk of soul, laced with a dash of funk and a soupcon of true blues. The songs are in English and the feeling I get is one of Vintage Trouble gone to the lighter side of rock.
My review copy seems to have a different running order than the CD on their website, but I will stick with what I’ve got and start with my opening track, the curiously titled Blue Bags Of Shame. It has a pleasing riff and the keys and guitar come together to form a decent leadoff song. Broken Man Blues, however, is a different shade with an acoustic guitar entrancing from the start and the build up with bits of slide and then electric makes this an excellent song. The title track, Fire, is a well-executed poppy/rock song with the vocals very much on the soul side but, with an entertaining guitar solo, it is always a good listen. I.T.N.O.G. is up next and, from the lyrics, this stands for In The Name Of God. When you hear the guitar and Moon like drumming, and if Daltrey sounded more like Roachford, this could be the Who! We also get a cameo from Lisa Kekaula (of the Bellrays) making this a stand out, especially the guitar solo to the fade. If One Day is a two and a half minute blast of pure R’n’B with a distinct 60s feel. Life sees Lisa back on vocals as the song hits the funk button; it is like a distillation of Motown but slightly rocked up. Missing Light changes the tone dramatically with a heavy fuzzed riff straight out of the Blue Cheer book of chords. It does lighten behind the verses and it is actually a very good chunk of blues-rock, especially with keys solo and guitar toward the fade. Nobody But Me has a very blues based acoustic start before the electric takes up a chunky and funky riff backed by a neat piano and after a prolonged chorus cuts to an entertaining guitar solo. Shadow Dancer is a delightful rock song that sounds like The Sweet and T-Rex got together; it is irresistible because of that image! A Wave Will Rise features Lady Wray (an American R’n’B singer and protégé of Missy Eliott, apparently…no, me neither). It has a brilliant bass behind a straightforward pop-rock song and Lady Wray does a good job, particularly when duetting with Damien. World In A Bottle wraps it up with a funky R’n’B song with a catchy riff and electric piano.
This is a difficult one to summarise; although it is nothing new or remarkable, it is impossible not to enjoy the whole thing. It is fun, fresh and carries itself with a jaunty step and you just can’t help but join in. The melange of styles is always backed with quality playing from all members of the band and I can only suggest you give it a listen and see if you can resist.
SEVENdoodle paws out of TEN …
- Blue Bags of Shame
- Broken Man Blues
- I.T.N.O.G. (featuring Lisa Kekaula)
- If One Day
- Life (featuring Lisa Kekaula)
- Missing Light
- Nobody But Me
- Shadow Dancer
- A Wave Will Rise (featuring Lady Wray)
- World In A Bottle
Damien – lead singer, guitar
Pete – backing vocals, guitar
Chatter – bass
Tsunam – drums
Thomas – keyboards