I was contacted by Alex Cooray, guitarist with Blues Engine recently, asking if I’d like a copy of the band’s new album (their second) Tracks for review. Never one to refuse some new Blues, I of course accepted his kind offer.
Blues Engine are a London-based four-piece consisting of Alex Cooray (guitar); Katya Chernyakova (vocals); Alexander Liutai (bass); and Hamish Birchall (drums)… and impressive they are too. Some other good musos were recruited as necessary for the recording as well.
They say Blues is formulaic – and it can be – but just recently I have heard some very innovative new albums from the genre, showing what can be achieved with some innovation. (See my reviews #141 and #142). Tracks is such an album too – not afraid to push boundaries yet keeping a firm footing within expected norms. That’s something I like and admire.
It is an eleven track album with all but one song written by the band themselves. There are a variety of Blues/Blues-based styles represented; making it an interesting collection indeed. Every track is a good’n for me, I must say. Whilst songs like ‘I Ain’t Sorry’ and ‘Tell Me A Riddle’ (with its excellent Greeny-esque guitar) are pretty much within tried and tested structures; ‘Spellbound’ and ‘Boatman’s Blues’ are compelling because I couldn’t predict where they were going. I also particularly liked the Latin inspired ‘Lonely By Your Side’ and the wonderfully upbeat ‘House On The Hill’. The album finishes with a great cover of Jimmy Cox’s ‘Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out’.
The CD comes in a jewel case with a nicely designed cover; with credits and thanks etc, but no lyrics or other info. (See the band’s website for more info). A bloody good album – its Blues with a difference. PTMQ