My readers may remember that a year ago I published a review of Husky Tones remarkable debut album Time For A Change (see review #89). Their second offering Who Will I Turn To Now? is about to be released, so the band kindly sent me a CD copy of the album for review.
The Bristol-based band are essentially a duet – Victoria Bourne (drums/vocals); and Chris Harper (guitar/vocals). They describe themselves as ‘Punk Blues’. This is an accurate description because whereas most Blues musicians would be content to move freely within the huge range offered by the genre, Husky Tones are keen on breaking into new ground completely. There are loose rules to Blues of course, but this band have just torn up the rule-book! Blues purists may hate it – but then Blues purists hate a lot of stuff! Its actually a very interesting collection of songs – musically, vocally and lyrically.
I listened to the first couple of songs and I was pleasantly surprised because they didn’t go where I thought they would; but after that I decided to listen outside the box and not to try to predict anything – just letting the sounds take me where the band wanted me to go. I then found the whole thing very compelling. It has a primal earthiness about it, redolent of both early Blues and Punk Rock – unusual bed-mates that strangely have united thanks to Victoria and Chris.
It is a ten track collection of songs all written by the couple themselves. There are some uncompromisingly good heavy guitar riffs present in many of the tracks, courtesy of Chris; and some haunting and unique vocals from Victoria. I particularly liked ‘The Island Of Barbed Wire’ which is about Victoria’s Great uncle being interned on the Isle Of Man during WW1; and ‘Jungle Blues’ – both with excellent acoustic guitar. I also liked the good rocker ‘I Worry About Nothing’; and the pensive ‘Put Your Arms Around Someone You Love’ with its beautiful guitar.
Lyrics are very good throughout, dealing with various topical historical, social, and political themes. This is refreshing subject matter for a Blues band to handle. So all kudos to the band for tackling these issues. More Blues bands should do this.
The CD comes in a smart card gate-fold sleeve, like a mini vinyl album with disc in one side and lyric booklet in the other. It includes credits, photos, and thanks etc; and was designed by Victoria herself. This collection is well worth getting hold of because I think its unique…. and it grows on you! The album will be released on 24th February. PTMQ