Vocalist / guitarist Danny Adams has spent over 9 months writing and producing his first album “The Black Mariahs” with his Weymouth/London band-mates: Craig Lowe on bass, Barney Stevens on drums and Paul Sundt on guitar & piano.
The album starts with a tentative feathering of keys on ‘The Artist’s Blues’ and then a nebulous vocal looms in – like a sudden apparition rising from the mists. A low super-elastic bass guitar wriggles free before stretching itself out against a barrage of drum-work. Then an amazing boogie-woogie piano solo shoots up through a mixture of yellowing, supple guitars. These mew and falter- until they fall off gradually. If you adore the jazzy parts of Pink Floyd – you’ll be amazed at how much you like this instrumental track .
‘People Keep Lovin’ has a reggae beat and the fully-flavoured voice of Danny. This track sounds like something produced by 10cc’s Stewart / Gouldman in the late Seventies – but then adorned by Carlos Santana. So we get the same sumptuous studio sounds and lavish attention to detail. But we also get the rampant fieriness and cold-blooded gypsy mystique of those solo guitar meanderings. This all adds fanciful flare to the copious percussive ruffles.
Another trip back to our disco days brings us to ‘Weak (Fighting Back the Tears)’. This song seems to recapture some of the gorgeous Euro-disco calypso dance-ability of those heady days – with the strong sense of glamour we sought from the bands of the New Romantic era. It’s a dance-floor filler – this one – and another Santana-sounding rocker.
‘Eastern Promise’ has a frazzled low-riding groove and some bruising flashes of guitar. The voice is now huskier and more athletic. ‘Amber’ is slowly plucked and golden. The prog -rock influences on this track are clear. It’s as if Don Henley had been gigging with The Strawbs before coming up with this one. But there is also something supremely ‘Holly Johnson‘ about those hauntingly liquid vocals. They span across the aeons.
The album is completed with the melodramatic song ‘The Gift’ – which leaves us on a truly remarkable psychedelic high. This song will haunt you from the first moment it is felt. The high energy soulfulness has a strong buzz. It’s as crucial as the neuro-transmitting sparks – found deep in your own pathways – that cause you to reflect and respond. The ambitious finale is an electric-guitar heaven of breadth and vitality.
This album is an assortment of oddments. Shapes and sizes don’t matter. This is an album of bright colours, myriad textures and a bewildering array of dazzling luxuries. It’s like a shining souk-full of sounds. Maybe it could have been more cohesive. It’s certainly not trendy or revolutionary. But this is definitely an album filled with precise musicality and lush production.
– © Neil_Mach August 2013 –