Archive for the ‘What’s The Rockbrat Listening To Today ?’ Category

rollercoasterWell, I’m gonna go out on a limb here – but I’m confident. We are only a quarter into the year – and already, the albums of the year have arrived. Makes little difference what comes out in the next 8 months, I’m here to tell you that nothing released this year will surpass the two new albums from Georgia’s finest – the great Dan Baird. For Dan Baird fans – Christmas has indeed come early. He has released not one – but TWO new albums, and both are exceptional.

Baird has released many albums since the Satellites demise, commencing with his first album in 1992, ‘Love Songs For The Hearing Impaired’. ‘Buffalo Nickel’ was good, (LOVE ‘Cumberland River’), as was ‘Out Of Mothballs’, and the material he released with Yayhoos is also exceptional, yet the albums he has released with Homemade Sin have taken him to a whole new level. Baird has collaborated with some fantastic guitar players throughout his career, including Eric Ambel and Rick Richards of course – who formed a formidable musical partnership with Baird and created a legacy that stands on its own merits. Over the last few years though, Baird’s right hand man has been Warner Hodges – and Hodges has been one of the key ingredients to Baird’s continued resurgence up the rock ladder. Hodges is rock solid – and has amazing tone and finesse – yet is also a great singer and song writer in his own rite (check out his couple of recent solo albums for further evidence of this). Hodges has added that ‘certain something’ to Baird’s sound, and from a slew of great albums, the last two Homemade Sin albums have both surpassed each other as Baird’s best. I didn’t think he could better 2013’s ‘Circus Life’, or ‘2015’s Get Loud, but I’m here to tell you – ‘Rollercoaster’ trumps ‘em both.

Rollercoaster is consistently strong – top to bottom. Right from the opening track ‘Shake It Till Its Sore’, pretty much the Homemade Sin creed of making great rock ‘n’ roll for people to dance to – you know you are in for a helluva ride. Dig the lyrics, “Smack the drums, hit the big A chord, pedal to the metal gonna shake it till its sore”. What is evident to me is that on both ‘Rollercoaster’ and ‘SoLow’ Baird opens up his memory bank and lyrically, there are many tunes penned about his formative years and his youth growing up in Georgia. Songs such as ‘Licka Sense’, about taking his Dad’s Harley and how his Dad was not an enthusiastic supporter of young Dan’s chosen career path in rock ‘n’ roll. The imagery he creates in ‘Roll On Chattahoochee’ is another  – “Big river is where I’m from” he sings, with lyrics recalling past days of about running through the Georgia Pine, his first El Camino, swimming holes and the summer sun.  There’s been others who have written about the Big River, including Alan Jackson and I think Drivin ‘N’ Cryin also wrote about it, yet none are as lyrically evocative as this. Midnight ramble indeed. This is how John Fogerty used to write ‘em. There’s lotsa great rockers included too – ‘Let It Shine’, ‘It’s Alright’, and Hodge’s soloing on ‘Can You Hear Me Now’ oozes Rossington/Collins. There’s 13 tunes on ‘Rollercoaster’ and as I said at the outset – no filler in sight.  If I’m pressed though, ‘Lay It Down’ is the album’s personal pick for me. I love those lyrics. “I’m just a second hand novel with the last page missing, “I got Aces and 8’s that’s a dead man’s hand.” It’s a like a theme song to an old Henry Fonda western, and as anyone knows, Cowboy Col is a sucker for a good Western. Bring on the visuals! Great tune, rippin and rockin’ chorus.  I have to make special mention of the heart wrenching “Do My Worst”, a truly beautiful song layered with much emotive feel and playing. If you think Baird can only write ‘runka runka 3 chord’ shtick – you are wrong wrong wrong. He is capable of writing truly evocative songs/ballads, that can send shivers down your spine. As song writer and lyricist, he is way underrated – not by those in the know though. ‘Rollercoaster’ scores a big 10 out of 10 from Cowboy Col.

DB.SoLow-CD-cover‘SoLow’ is a solo album proper – sans Homemade Sin.  Much of the material on ‘SoLow’ is co-written with Joe Blanton, who also plays with Baird and Hodges in the highly recommended Nashville outfit – The Bluefields, one of Music City’s finest. Blanton used to be in a terrific band called Royal Court Of China. Add them to your homework list and go search them out too while you’re at it. David Newbould, who has contributed songs to the last couple of Homemade Sin albums also co-writes some tunes on ‘SoLow’. He has a band called The Stowaways worth checking out. The songs on SoLow are a little more organic, more country, but not in an obvious way, yet there’s some subtle differences to this and a Homemade Sin record. The opener Cemetery Train is a great song, super catchy, big chorus, memorable lyrics. A Baird/Blanton classic. Blanton should be in the major leagues, he is such a great song writer and has real predilection of melody. “Look Away” is an absolute monster. There is so much swagger and soul on the playing you’d think the Allman’s were on board. Superb. Aside from ‘Cemetery Train’, ‘Showtime’ is the obvious single. Likeable and catchy, good time rock ‘n’ roll. ‘Say Goodbye’ is another instant classic that is laden with feel, a sing-along chorus, sweet harmony’s and is beyond catchy. Melodic riff and great vocal to boot. You will be singing the chorus ‘Tell Me Why’ over and over. The more laid back, ‘She’s With Me’ comes up trumps, as does ‘Lay It On Me’. The plaintive “Gotta Get A Move On” is a pleasant surprise. Acoustic, stripped back, highlighted by some nice banjo and instrumentation. Two thumbs up from Fonzie and another 10 out 10 from Cowboy Col.

Dan Baird is the real deal. Forget whoever else it is that the social media conglomerates tell you is rock ‘n’ roll. Take my word for it when I tell you that Dan Baird rock ‘n’ roll is the best there is, and with ‘SoLow’ and ‘Rollercoaster’ – he has arguably, made the two best albums of his career.

See Dan Baird and Homemade Sin on tour in Australia in APRIL/MAY. Check out http://www.danbairdandhomemadesin.net for more details and ticket information.

  • Apr 13 The Corner Hotel Richmond, Australia  
  • Apr 14 Cherry Bar Melbourne, Australia  
  • Apr 15 Baha Rye, Australia  
  • Apr 16 Boogie Fest Tallarook, Australia  
  • Apr 18 Basement Sydney, Australia  
  • Apr 19 Lizottes Bar  Lambton, Australia  
  • Apr 22 Bridge Hotel Rozelle, Australia  
  • Apr 28 Triffid Brisbane, Australia  
  • Apr 29 Parkwood Tavern Ashmore, Australia  
  • May 02 The Gov Adelaide, Australia  
  • May 05 The Charles Hotel North Perth, Australia

165194-L-LOIf you need a reminder of why Australian rock n roll of the 1970 and 80s was the best in the world – then ‘The Glory Days Of Aussie Pub Rock’ is for you. Festival Records have done a superb job in capturing the best bands of that period, with a whopping 4 CD, 90 song set that has something for everyone. The obvious guitar heavyweights of the pub rock period are represented – with songs by Cold Chisel, The Angels, Divinyls and Rose Tattoo – yet what makes this comp a standout from others, is that the good folks at Festival have given some thought and insight when putting the project together. For example: Unlike other previous comps, where the ‘obvious’ hit was the choice to represent the band – on this CD, it’s not the case. The Angels tune is not the somewhat tired sounding ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’, but the Birdman influenced ‘Shadow Boxer’. The Rose Tattoo tune is ‘One Of The Boys’ which probably should have been released as a single. By taking this approach – it means that the CD set will appeal to seasoned punters who were actually there during these halcyon days – as well as those who weren’t. Smart move. The Skyhooks tune is even a non-Shirley tune – with the often overlooked ‘Over The Border’ sounding vital and relevant. Superb, McCainsh lyrical wit as you’d expect.

 It’s good to hear pub rock stalwarts The Radiators, a band that probably should have had success overseas in the early 80s, as well as Spy V Spy – both bands I saw in countless Sydney pubs in the 1980s.  My favourite Spy’s tune is ‘Sally Ann’, but ‘Hard Times’ reminds you why this band were pub rock kingpins in the mid 80s. Rose Tattoo’s Pete Wells ‘Between The Saddle and The Ground’ is one of the other highlights. Plaintive, Dylanesqe vocal delivery – outlaw country – melodic, memorable riff – a tune that should have been bigger that what it was.

 It’s good that the OL’55 tune is ‘C’mon Let’s Do It’ and not the go-to tune ‘On The Prowl’.  Ol ’55 had a lot more going on musically than just being a revival outfit, and this tune reminds you of that. Ol 55’s key songwriter Jim Manzie had a lot of pop sensibility, and once free of the restrictions of being in a 50’s revival band, (both a blessing and a curse no doubt ), he began to really explore his pop song writing chops. His work with post OL ’55 outfits The Breakers and The Fives is often overlooked. The long out of print Breakers tune ‘When I’m On TV’ is included on this comp and it sounds great. Superb hard edge pop with a stack of melody and catchy chorus.  Almost worth the price of the CD for that tune alone! Who else remembers seeing this on Countdown?

From the early 70s period that are tunes by Buster Brown, Jim Keays, Thorpie, Daddy Cool, and Fraternity.  From the mid 70s there are tunes by Taste, Hush, Dallimore and Supernaut (with one of their brilliant post punk tunes ‘Unemployed’). TMG are also here too with ‘Gonna Be Somebody’, a disregarded hard rocking single lifted off their 1978 ‘Disturbing The Peace’ album. This tune sounds killer – given the digital treatment. From the 1980s – there is more great Oz pub rock fare with the Baby Animals, Screaming Jets, Kings Of The Sun, Noiseworks, Nick Barker, Hoodoo Gurus, The Church and the Saints. There are so many great bands here – you’d be hard pressed not to find something to your liking. There’s also Kevin Borich, Stars, Richard Clapton, Moving Pictures, the Hitmen, Dingoes, the Ferrets and the Sports.

Painters & Dockers get a guernsey with ‘Die Yuppie Die’ whilst the Flowers tune ‘Sister’ is a good alternate choice to ‘We Can Get Together’.  I forgot how good Heroes were, and ‘I Can’t Go On’ sounds fresh. Who else remembers The Motivators, The Aliens, Flaming Hands, Young Modern and the Johnnys? That’s right – they are also represented here.

Whilst Russell Morris is getting all the accolades (justly so) for his recent blues albums, people often forget his great work in the late 70s / early 80s. My favourite album is ‘Foot In The Door’ and how can you go past ‘Running Jumping Standing Still’ as an example of an iconic tune – Australian or otherwise? This CD contains one of his tunes with The Rubes, ‘Walk Don’t Run’, which is melodic and catchy hard edged pop from a guy who has a truckload of great songs to his name. Forget about ‘The Real Thing’ and ‘Wings Of An Eagle’ – dig into his late 70s period!  ‘Walk Don’t Run’ will get your started.  

I hadn’t heard The Spaniards tune ‘I Want To Live In A House’ since I saw Starstruck at the movies back in 1982, and it’s also good to hear Mike Rudd & The Heaters – another guy whose extensive body of musical work post Spectrum/Arial is often overlooked. One of Adelaide’s great pub rock bands The Boys are here with ‘Weoh Weoh Weoh‘, and the fantastic Numbers also with Four Letter Word’. Annalise Morrow certainly had it going on, and The Numbers were just about guitar-pop perfection.

Another pleasant surprise was the female fronted Melbourne outfit The Kevins, whose single ‘Romeo Romeo’ was originally released in 1982 on the White Label. I’d forgotten what a great tune this was and it’s good to hear it unearthed and given a new lease of life. Nice deep that stacks up well against bands with a larger profile.

Mi-Sex were one of the best bands of the pub rock glory days, and ‘Graffiti Crimes’ sounds fantastic to my ears in 2017. In fact Mi-Sex’s music sounds better as time goes on. Testament to the songwriting.  The album winds up with Swanee out front of The Alan Lancaster/John Brewster version of the Party Boys – and ‘High Voltage’ is a nice recap of what I told you at the start – Australian rock n roll is the best there is. 

A couple of surprises on the album were the Cockroaches tune ‘Hey What Now’ which is close to hard rock (on the verses anyway) and a long way from the Anthony Field Wiggles era –and the Warumpi Band’s ‘Stompin Ground’ which is indeed hard rock. Good tune too.

This is not a hastily thrown together comp. Like other recent Festival compilations, (Boogie!, When Sharpies Ruled, Silver Road etc), the bands and songs that represent them have been well considered – with a finished product that serves as a great audio document of a wonderful period of Australian music history. The package contains an excellent booklet with exhaustive liner notes, band info and cool images – including front page covers of many old issues of RAM!

Note that this is volume 2. Volume 1 also contains a monstrous 90 odd tracks and is equally worthy of your attention. Good work Festival. Keep up the good work Dog! 9 out of 10. Available everywhere.   

coverT’was the night before Christmas – and all through our house – the creatures were indeed stirring – cos the blazing guitar sounds of France’s Juliette Jade Valduriez were ripping round the rockbrat walls ! Yes folks, I was not expecting the magic of Christmas to bring forth a rock n roll miracle like this – but indeed it did. A loyal Rockbrat reader alerted me to the fact that Juliette (an artist who has generated immense interest on YouTube – before then vanishing) had recently resurfaced ! But not only is Juliette back – she’s got a whole album’s worth or original material out and about ! Fantastique !

It’s no secret that we are fans of Juliette – in fact the previous blog posts we’ve penned about her still generate heavy stats. Before penning this review I re-watched some of her YouTube videos to get in the zone. Man, the tone and feel she has whilst wailing away on her solo’s still captivate me. I reckon it’s that tone and natural flair Valduriez has which is what had me hooked first time round. Make an effort to search our her videos on YouTube. Her take on Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ – viewed by millions by the way, always earns top marks, whilst her interpretation of Jake E. Lee’s fret work on Ozzy’s ‘Bark At The Moon’, just plain rocks.

I am not gonna speculate why Juliette – (now known as Juliette Jade) went AWOL. The fact that she is back and has finally released an album’s worth of original material – is all that matters. Released in late December – the digital-only album ‘Terrarium’ – is a gathering of 11 home demos which displays her vast musical talent. ‘Allegory’ is the album opener – no hidden meaning here folks  – just one very solid sounding track with a very distinguishable Valduriez (ooops Jade) sounding guitar solo at 1.30 – which damn-well brought a smile to my face. She really is back !

The slower paced ‘Room 7’ again has that Juliette-signature guitar sound all over it – no complaints here. Yet I gotta confess – after solely viewing her guitar playing online – it’s actually her pleasant sounding vocals which I am finding surprising ! Mellow, at times haunting – at times a little reminiscent of Lori Carson – very nice. Love it love it love it.
Diadème could be my favourite track on the album. Sung solely in French – it’s hauntingly beautiful with Jade’s appealing vocals and tasteful guitar solo – the key ingredients here. Wow.  Straight-down-the-line rock n roll is gonna win me over every time – which is why the tunes ‘Hélicoptère’ and the frenzied ‘Frozen Time’ – clocking in at a Ramones-like 2.18 gets the thumbs up from me. I dig it. The bar-chord heaviness of Hélicoptère would be great in the live environment, and contains some of Valduriez’ most potent soloing. ‘Killer’, for me is another album highlight with some powerful lyrics – and another blazing guitar solo. It’s captivating as it is eerie and ‘Killer’ is indeed something special – jostling with Diadème or ‘Hélicoptère’ as my choice album cut.

This girl can shred with the best of em – we know that – but if you are looking for an album’s worth of shredding, look elsewhere. Yes, the guitar work is etched all over the album, but it is far classier than your average guitar rock record and you will be pleasantly surprised. I’d go so far to say that ‘Terrarium’ is an album which sounds better and better upon each listen and is a remarkable debut. One omission here is ‘Lost Paradise’ –  one of Juliette’s original YouTube recordings which did not make the cut  – shame, as it’s had over two million views online and is stellar. Maybe if she gets picked up my a major, or large independent label – it can be included later. It’s too good a song to remain unreleased.

Final words on this review are courtesy of Rockbrat Reader Eddie_Lyons who – when summarizing Terrarium on Juliette’s bandcamp page – accurately concludes…it’s ‘a powerhouse of guitar-driven introversion, peppered with signature Valduriez solos. A perfect blend of lyrics with a haunting voice. An album that wouldn’t be out of place in a collection of the best of the late ’70s and early ’80s. A worthy debut, and worth the long, long wait! Bravo! Too difficult to choose a favourite from a quality collection’.

Folks this is a stunning – long-awaited debut which does not disappoint. I have once again put in an interview request which will hopefully come to fruition. Terrarium set me back 7 EUR and you can get it from https://juliettejade.bandcamp.com/

It is high time more people were made aware of one of France’s best kept secrets.

ragas-coverRajas, Jugs and Mojo Hands is the new album from the Australia’s best guitar player Gwyn Ashton (sorry Tommy, sorry Phil – I still love ya both) and is a collaborative effort between Gwyn, long-time friend and musical mentor Chris Finnen, and stalwart Peter Beulke on bass. Finnen has shared the stage with some of the world’s best, including Buddy Guy, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Witherspoon, Roy Buchanan, Eric Burdon and Keb Mo. Is an introduction to the great Gwyn Ashton really necessary ? For those who weren’t paying attention the first time, Gwyn Ashton has spent the past 30 years touring Australia and Europe, recording with some of the biggest names in blues and rock including musicians from Deep Purple, Robert Plant’s and Rory Gallagher’s bands and touring with the likes of Buddy Guy, Mick Taylor, Peter Green and many more. Much of Gwyn’s material on this new album he wrote while on the road in Poland, the Czech Republic and the UK. How to describe Rajas, Jugs and Mojo Hands? If you are thinking down-the-line Delta or Chicago blues – think again.  Sure, there is evidence of that, but what sets this album apart is the way that Ashton and Finnen weave other musical sounds/influences into the mix – from Indian/Eastern, Arabic and African sounds – and all work amazingly well with the sound of dual National resonators. Throw in equal parts Ashton’s and Finnen’s unique Australian flavors, and you end up with a roots/blues cocktail like no other.  ‘I Can Feel That Mojo Working On Me’ is the ideal opener. Beyond catchy, tasteful slide, catchy chorus, with Indian/Eastern influences set to a Deep South blues groove – man can Gwyn Ashton write a tune. He sure has his mojo going on with this one. This song segues effortlessly into the second track, the all instrumental, Eastern influenced ‘Moravian Rhapsody’ – which is in many ways, a companion piece to the opening track, with the appealing slide resonator guitars up front and foremost. Super catchy, and would no doubt get the nod of approval from George Harrison. ‘Duchcov’, an ode to the Czech Republic town that sits at the foot of the Ore Mountains, is a strikingly atmospheric instrumental that scores big points –  highlighted by subtle playing, fingers delicately finessing strings, and melody galore.  Blues purists will love ‘Lonesome Road’ and ‘Givin Up The Church’, both great slabs of traditional blues played and sung the Finnen way – complete with a wry sense of humour. With its lyrical sexual innuendos, ‘Keep Your Oven Warm’ would no doubt bring a smile to the face of Blind Lemon Jefferson. Keep your jam tart sticky, so I can lick my fingers clean J. There’s an authenticity about all those old blues guys that does not diminish with time  – and that’s what so many people love about the blues. I’m here to tell you folks that Chris Finnen has that same blues authenticity in spades. The album closes with the Eastern sounding instrumental ‘Migration’, a glorious cacophony of sympathetic strings and slide guitar set with Shankar-like ambience. Top shelf. If I’m forced to pick, my personal fave is ‘Who’s That Knockin’, a sing along ditty with catchy chorus that reminds me a lot of ‘On The Beach’ era Neil Young. That’s a good thing folks!  What’s great about this album is that is that it was recorded over two evenings with no rehearsal or pre-production. Everything was recorded live, first or second take, on acoustic guitars and National resonators, with Ashton also on Weissenborn, and Finnen adding chumbush, darbuka, cajon, clay pot and banjo into the mix. Just goes to show you what happens when musical chemistry exists between truly great players. The result is surely one of the best blues/roots albums to come out of Australia in recent years. 10 out of 10. Buy it from Fab Tone Records, or head to Gwyn Ashton’s web site here. You can also check out the official promo video for the album here.

a0566583140_10.jpgMany albums by Australian hard rock/heavy metal bands of the early to mid-1980s are long out of print, and often fetch high prices on eBay and the collectors market. When these records were originally released, they were more often than not released on independent labels and in limited numbers, hence the reason why many titles have become scarce as hens teeth and fetch those high prices. There were albums by bands such as Surrender, Tough Luxury, Bengal Tigers, Blackjack, Axatak, Snake – and others I forget, that now go for good money. Scott Ginn’s ‘One Man Army’ was one kick ass album from 1986 that has been long out of print – until now. 30 years later, this underrated album of melodic Australian hard rock has been dusted off and digitally remastered and is now available again, and for the first time, in both CD and digital formats. I still have my original LP, but I gotta tell you, it sounds great to hear these songs given the digital treatment and a new lease of life. This album was every bit as good as material being released back then by prominent hard rock bands in the USA and Europe, yet due to geographic isolation and the fact that it was an independent  release, meant that it wasn’t heard by the masses that it should have. Songs such as ‘Torment In Tehran’, ‘One Hand Held High’, ‘Heartbeat City Blues’  and ‘Watching The Lines Go Down’ are all top shelf hard-rock oozing melody and hooks aplenty. The multi-talented Scott Ginn really was a one man army – as he played all the instruments, sang all the tunes, and produced and engineered the whole she-bang. He also has one of the best rock voices ever to come out of the antipodes. Fresh from his time with BOSS, this was his first solo release, and was recorded at his own Montreux Studios in Sydney, Australia. a3158733681_10.jpgFor this 30th Anniversary re-release he has remastered all the original album tracks and added two additional bonus tracks that were recorded around the same time as the album. A couple of years later, in the late 80s, Ginn put together a band called Rags N Riches, guys who had all been his touring band for the ‘One Man Army’ LP.  Rags N Riches were prominent on the Sydney scene during the late 80s / early 90s and had a solid following. They played a unique brand of rock ‘n’ roll they termed, ‘Rag ‘n’ Roll’ – a blend of commercial hard rock and hair metal with an emphasis on good songs, partying and having a good time. One single was released on coloured white vinyl “Dance Baby Dance w/ Money Can’t Change Your Mind”, which is long out of print. The band’s debut album ‘Shipwrecked Out In The Street” was recorded between 1990 and 1993 at  Montreux Studios but was never released. The band stopped performing after 1993, and the recorded archive of Rags N Riches material sat idle for many years. During 2015-2016 Ginn digitally remastered the original recordings and now, after more than 20 years this killer hard rock album has finally seen the light of day.  I saw Rags N Riches live on many occasions, and at that time was disappointed that an album of original songs never saw the light of day. I have memories of many of the bands tunes including ’Dance Baby Dance’, ‘Hotline’ and the title tune – and it’s great to finally hear these songs again after all these years. Scott Ginn is a guy we have a lot of time for here at Rockbrat HQ, and it goes without saying that both these albums are essential purchases. If you dig melodic hard rock – this stuff is right up your alley and highly recommended! Forget your next cup of coffee and buy a great album of original Australian hard rock. You can buy either CD for only $10 each, or the digital albums for only $5. Head over to https://mazz-xt.bandcamp.com/ for more information and you can also listen to sound samples as well. Australian rock n roll is and always has been, the best in the world – these albums will remind you why.

a2184348725_2The new single from The Fiascos arrived at Rockbrat HQ and it’s a corker.  If you dig old school ‘77 style punk with a modern edge and infectious pop overtones – look no further than this lot.  Melodic pop punk with hooks galore and catchy as, ‘Olivia’ is instantly likeable. If you dig The Wildhearts / Hey Hello  – this is right up your alley. It’s a rifforama, yet also super melodic, with layered harmony vocals and sing along chorus too. Why ain’t I hearing this on the radio ?  ‘Built For Speed’ is on the flipside and it’s also a killer tune. Faster tempo yet still super melodic, complete with a spoken word breakdown. I was a big fan of both the New Bomb Turks and Turbo AC’s, and if you need a reference point, this tune sits somewhere in between – yet I can also hear a lot of Honest John Plain in this tune as well. That’s a good thing in my book!  The guitars on both tracks are way up front, with Richie and Keef both rippin’ guitar players. These cats hail from Croydon, South London (only a short double decker bus ride from where Mr Rockbrat and I used to live in Bromley) and they have a web site where you can pick up these killer tunes for the generous price of only a quid per song. They also have a facebook page so you can also keep track of any gigs. Can’t wait for an album. Recommended!

BW_From-NY-With-Love.gifBrijitte West is a major talent. She is a not a household name – but she damn well should be. She is rock n roll personified – like Chrissie Hynde. Yet without trying to sound provocative, Hynde hasn’t penned anything this good in a number of years. West writes amazingly catchy, heavy pop tunes (with a noticeable Americana edge) and profound lyrics that reflect her life’s experiences. She should have broken through into the mainstream 20 years ago. This album should rightly see her go through to the major league – it is simply, that good. As someone who has reviewed hundreds of albums over the years, I struggle to find superlatives that do these songs justice – and to highlight standout tunes, when the entire album is a standout.  Put simply, this is a phenomenal rock record, and is many ways the follow up to New York Loose’s (Brijittes’ former band) outstanding album from 1995 ‘Year Of The Rat’. Yes I know she has released music since that time (Desperate Hopefuls, San Dusky etc), but what I am saying is that this is without question, the best thing she has done in 20 years and is as good as ’Year Of The Rat’. I cannot overstate how good this album is. Top to bottom – every song is gold, with no filler in sight.  In a number ways, I could compare this album to Michael Monroe’s incredible comeback album from a few years back ‘Sensory Overdrive’. Like West, Monroe had released several albums since the early 90s, but it was ‘Sensory Overdrive’ that finally pushed him back into the spotlight, as the songs were all memorable, catchy and of high quality – and so it is with ‘From New York With Love’. From the opening riff of ‘Typical Drunken Loser’, you know you are hearing something special. ‘Typical Drunken Loser’ is a great opener, lots of hooks, riff heavy, sing along chorus – and a slashing Thunders style guitar solo. I adore the slow groove of ‘Permanent Ink’. What a ballsy tune, lyrically cutting and resplendent with harmony vocals. ‘Lie To Me’ is another peerless tune of the highest quality. Beyond catchy, this is just about pop perfection. For a song that deals with broken hearts as the subject matter, it’s one hell of a pop song. Super melodic, sing a long chorus, killer vocal delivery. In fact vocally, Brijitte West never sounded better than she does on this album. And the killer tunes keep coming, ‘Close To Defeat’, ‘We Didn’t’ Make It’ , ‘Done It Proud’. ‘Lock and Chain’ gets a special mention as it is super catchy, complete with sing along and melody aplenty. The brooding ‘Don’t Wait For Tomorrow is another gem and to my ears, would sit comfortably on ‘Year of the Rat’. That’s high praise, as I cannot rate ‘Year Of The Rat’ highly enough. The inclusion of a cover of Nick Gilder’s ‘Hot Child In The City’ works really well, before the album closes with the acoustic ‘Fire Brigade’, a pared back observation of a failed relationship – this song is simply stunning with the emotions running deep.  From New York With Love is beyond essential. 10 out of 10. Superb.Available now from Amazon.