The British blues-rock quartet ALBANY DOWN have announced their third studio album entitled “THE OUTER REACH” [to be published Friday 10 June and reviewed by RAW RAMP Here.] Last week they played a special show in London’s legendary 100 Club in Oxford Street to give a fans and supporters “a sneaky peak” of the songs. They also played a few carefully selected numbers from their back-catalog.
ALBANY DOWN are Paul Muir on vocals, Paul Turley on guitar, Donna Peters on drums and Billy Dedman on bass. They have already recorded two superb albums with award-winning producer Greg Havers [Manic Street Preachers] and are already well-known on the blues-tours for their excellent songwriting ability, impassioned performances and impressive musicianship.
The band launched their set with the glorious “Feeding the Flame” this had baroque influences, played with moving passion, with Muir on vocals… whilst Turley’s hurdy-gurdy guitar twisted and turned like a python on a hot skillet.
The rhythms were consistently great, with low notes and clear unequivocal drummery. This was a bewitching main-spring number and became the driving force for the rest of the show.
In the second and third numbers, the band lost this initial impulse and thrust, the respectful vintage sounding “I Need You” lacked inner strength and core vitality. Luckily “Like a Bullet” was a sensation. This type of progressively-building song brings home the bacon for Albany Down. This reminded us of Nickelback — I hasten to add, in terms of musicality and polish (I would hate you to think that Albany Down are as unimaginative as the Canadians) — there was an heroic burst of guitar, a beautifully gilded melody and the type of upheaval and sense of betrayal that sends a shiver down the spine.
In the hazy summer blues number “South of the City” from the album of the same name, you get (more than) a vague idea that the protagonist in the song has ‘done away’ with his love, and consequently he left town in a hurry, a fugitive.
Justice is to be served on the new album, the killer has an early morning appointment with “Mr Hangman.” Yes, its part two of this torrid melodrama. Like it’s counterpart on the earlier album, this has a hot and scuzzy riff that haunts like a mosquito bite on a wet day.
The chorus “I won’t go… till the hangman goes…” Is a heroic refrain. And vocalised particularly powerfully by Muir in his impeccable, feverish, blue-eyed soul capability. But in fact this song belongs to Turley whose muddy blues-twisted guitar wreathed like the twitching noose-rope, before dramatically dropping like a smoking trapdoor.
The sound of Albany Down is typically heavier than electric blues.
It would sit neatly within the album-oriented rock radio classification. At the 100 Club we were frequently reminded of “Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow ” as a fitting comparison, albeit without keyboards, but with the same guitar-centric foundation, Graham Bonnet type vocalizations and blues-based compositions that seem to turn — ambitiously — into mini-epics.