“Don’t try to tell me I’ve had my share”
Albany Down are on the way up! I saw the boys at the Hobgoblin Staines last night performing new tracks and laying down the
beat. They are also soon to be heading for the Purple Turtle and the Barfly in Camden, as well as completing some new [free]
streaming MP3 tracks.
The sound of Albany Down is stripped-down-to-the-waist no nonsense rhythm and blues 70’s inspired Brit rock ( the feel of
early ‘Free‘ or ‘John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers‘) but with a bit of jazz-funk to mix it up a little. The sensation is a bit like having an-honest to goodness pint of real ale in a local pub with your best mates, whilst your girls are all up on the dance floor bopping to Sly & the Family Stone …the two things shouldn’t go together but they really do. For example, the Albany Down song “Baby Where’d You Stay” is a classic Stones type song through-and-through, yet we all know how funky the Stones can sound- especially after a few large ones.
Paul Muir is the band vocalist ( he looks like a smaller version of Clydebank born Marti Pellow – and he sounds like him too when he introduces each song) …but Paul needs to project his voice a good deal more if he is to achieve clarity and intensity. He needs to demand attention by lifting that voice up to a new level. Sometimes his vocals were lost inside the hard-as-nails musical themes, which is a shame.
The large bruiser in the porkpie hat is the bassist Billy Dedman -his bass play is fast and deadly in its earnest gusto. It is finger-lickin’ good too. Billy has a prowess for solid bass lines and a certain reliability about him – but he also demonstrates the aptitude and dexterity for a higher vision and pulled off some nifty bass solo pieces of his own.
Diminutive drummer Jonny Bescoby is as fast as the white water at the Grand Rapids, after a particularly heavy downpour. Many of the Albany Down songs have a funky beat to them, so the drummer needs to have loose wrists and a compassion and an understanding for rhythm with a grooving back-beat. His musicianship brings to mind Blink-182’s Travis Barker in style and ability, with an intrinsic understanding of agile rap-rock box-beats that he adds to the rhythmic soundscape when so required. But Jonny is also reliable and prescient enough to provide reliable and thunderous percussive downpours in the more conventional blues settings.
Paul Turley on lead guitar makes most of the magic happen up on stage. Wearing the face of Jimi on his chest, but the smugness and charm of a rogue city trader upon his countenance, he may be clean-cut and young but his guitar-work speaks of generations of earthy blues players cutting their thumbs on sharp chords and picking up the notes of barbed tunes in an artful agony almost angelic in its anguish. He puts on a very fine and accomplished performance with a few daring and flaring Hendrix-style licks but reverts down to a sensible chug-a-chug chord or two when things are brimming.
The surprise of the evening was the Steve Booker/Duffy number “Mercy” played stripped down to the gun-metal and served with
plenty of angst. This and the crowd pleaser ‘The Morning After’ with its tribal thumping (the feeling of drums banging in your head after a session… we know don’t we kids?) were the musical highlights in an enjoyable set. Albany Down can be counted on for pleasure and honest to goodness fun. Insistent guitar hooks, stripped down licks and rattling good-time rock are all handed out to an eager crowd like a kind of pass-the-parcel game full of authentic British R&B sounds.