Bourbon Street Beat – Knuckes Of Brass EP (2010)

Manchester’s Bourbon Street Beat may describe themselves as blending 50s and 60s rock ‘n’ roll but I don’t really see it myself: on the evidence of this debut EP they’re pounding their own individual stomping ground.

The title track is simply glorious. Saved to the end it acts as a barnstorming climax. The guitar rolls into town backed by thumping drums. Almost immediately you are hit with Iain Hammond’s vocals which steal the show. There are hundreds of bands around these days but not many singers worth writing home about. This guy however, can sing. He owns this EP, commands the songs with a warm, vibrant, almost smoky hue. The song itself is a masterclass of tension and release with a strict control over its ebb and flow. Too smooth for rock ‘n’ roll, too classy for garage rock, but perfect for dancing too, I wouldn’t try to define this song as anything apart from ‘brilliant’.

‘Feel The Rush’ is harsher with a slight rockabilly flavour with a dash of ‘Bad Moon Rising’ and a sprinkle of New Wave. Some of the guitar stabs sound a little indie for my tastes but once Iain Hammond’s vocals kick in they are more than adequate compensation. Whipped to a frothy conclusion, it’s tasty stuff.

‘Start From Scratch’ ,um, starts with surfy guitars until it goes a bit stop-start which feels a bit clichéd these days. But again, when you have vocals as strong as this the occasional musical blemish is smoothed over.

Although technically an EP it very much feels like a single with the track listing reversed. It takes you back to the thrilling days when a single was like a bolt of lightning from the musical heavens. The musical equivalent of a latte laced with rum.

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