Underneath what may very well be 2016’s crappiest album cover lies this year’s best blues LP, as The Wave Pictures take their fascination with American blues to new levels.
From the riffs and solos of City Forgiveness (2013) to the gorgeous vintage feel of their Billy Childish produced Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon (2015) and the acoustic sweetness of this year’s A Season in Hull, this collection has elements of them all. As a result it is perhaps the best of the lot.
There’s a sense of growing resentment at the digital world across this album, in music and our lives. It possibly explains why the album cover, which features guitarist Dave Tattersall, bassist Franic Rozycki and drummer Jonny Helm clutching their instruments by what looks like a hedge, is so rubbish.
Why waste time digitally editing fancy covers when there’s good music to play?
And there’s plenty of it too, especially on Now I Want To Hoover My Brain Clean. This is one of half a dozen blues rock tracks that carries this ethos of going back to basics perfectly.
Others in this mold are opener Panama Hat and closer The Running Man.
There’s a break from these heavy riffs with a few acoustic numbers that fit in perfectly, especially Meeting Simon At the Airport and the slide guitar and brush drumming on the title track.
A great The Wave Pictures single too emerges with Pool Hall, which brings another common theme across the album – of focusing on everyday British life through the sounds of 1970s American blues rock.
As well as pool halls, here being torn down to make flats, David Tattersall’s wonderfully detailed lyrics take us to betting shops and pubs, complete with a landlord with crisps down his shirt. Even the colours of flowers in vases he passes get a mention. If ever a musician has a novel to write it is him.
In the press release Tattersall says that they don’t want to be a blues band, “but the blues is there” at the “core of everything we do. We love it,” he adds.
With his accomplished and original guitar solos and Helm and Rozycki’s moody rhythm section they have the musical expertise to be among the blues greats. They may not like it, but their metamorphosis into a modern day and thoroughly British Creedance Clearwater Rivival is satisfyingly nearing completion
by Joe Lepper
For more information about The Wave Pictures click here.