Rock, April 2019

hfnalbum.pngJon Amor
Colour In The Sky
Thirtybee Records CD30B001

Jon Amor has always been good, but now, 25 years after his first recordings, he's great. From the chiming guitar intro of opener 'Faith Reborn', Amor seems transformed, able to soar above the blues roots that characterised his early work. His songs are now impeccably constructed to perfectly complement his dramatically improved lyrics, while his guitar parts are more concise and shapely than ever. His singing too has improved so radically that on the Latin-inflected 'San Bernardino' the vocal textures could be from two entirely different people. 'Stranger For Me' insinuates subtly Dylanesque touches into its New Orleans jazz flavours. Definitely a career best with the potential to lead to much bigger audiences. JBk


Delicate Steve
Til I Burn Up
Anti- Records EPIT7635-2A

These days, making a guitar-based instrumental rock album isn't easy. The territory has been extensively mapped out from Link Wray to Mike Oldfield to Explosions In The Sky, but Delicate Steve is something else again. New Jersey-based multi-instrumentalist Steve Marion is the heart of the band, creating stark electronic backing tracks over which he plays intense, jagged melodies which, at times, seem to be ripping apart the air through which they pass. But, if harsh, his guitar lines are always tuneful and he can also deliver hauntingly ambient atmospheres. There's a definite retro vibe to the electronics, but the overall feel is always futuristic. JBk


Silver Tongues
Bailey Records BAILEY008LP

I've long been of the opinion that if a band wants to be loud, they should be ridiculously loud, and London-based Crows hit that nail right on the head. With Lemmy six feet under, metal is screaming out for a something that knows how to thrash in a relentlessly brutal, demented and dirty fashion, and Crows do that better than anybody else. You can crank Silver Tongues up loud and, after removing anything breakable, spend an energetic 45 minutes moshing insanely, banging off walls and kicking over sturdy chairs. Lyrically, crazed vocalist James Cox is pretty cerebral, but he doesn't go big on tunes, and the mayhem is magnificent from start to finish. JBk


Nick Waterhouse
Nick Waterhouse
Innovative Leisure IL2060

Four albums into an often critically-acclaimed career, California-born soul-oriented singer-songwriter Waterhouse still hasn't come anywhere close to cracking the mainstream, and this workmanlike album probably won't change his status much. It's an easy album to pop on and groove along to, but once it's over it's hard to remember it as anything more than a generally cool vibe. A song like 'Undedicated', although immaculately performed, is too reminiscent of Peggy Lee's 'Fever', and that feeling of indebtedness to earlier classic songs inhabits several of the tracks, making it hard to consider Waterhouse as much more than a very capable recycler of past glories. JBk