BLOW - Blow by Blow
BLOW are a three piece from London that describe themselves as 50's soul punk. Formed at the beginning of 2014, they consist of lead singer and guitarist Toby Connor (formerly of The Paris Riots and The Volts) with bass duties covered by Andy Shorten (also of The Volts). However, they are probably best known as being the alternative band of Jola, the Amazonian goddess who is one of the two drummers presently employed by Adam Ant. Blow by Blow is their first studio album and was recorded and produced by Simon Trought and the band at Soup Studios in London.
Their sound is something akin to distorted quasi Caleb Followill vocals over jerky guitars and a rhythmic backbeat. They do not have a definitive sound although the tone is set by the staccato drumming and swirling guitars of opener "Wasted". At times they can sound like early Arctic Monkeys on tracks like "Dead Flowers", then morph into prime Siouxsie & the Banshees mode - all scratchy guitars and staggered, tribal, drumming - on "Invade" and "Her".
However, they are not afraid to throw in slow numbers to give the album some emotional light and shade. "Just So Close to Breaking" has a slower tempo with shimmering guitars that would not have been out of place on House of the Rising Sun. The vocals are emotive and heart rending, yet the song sparks into life mid song and ends in an uplifting, almost celebratory way.
But I prefer it when the band throw off the shackles and lets rip on tracks like "Her". Rolling thunder drumming and huge guitars riffs means that, for a trio, they can produce a powerful sound.
"Down in Mexico" has an almost Joy Division feel to the intro, but picks up tempo into a spaghetti western homage to all bluesy ivory tinklers "He wears a red bandana, plays a cool piana, then a honky-tonk down in Mexico". Whilst a quirky bass line and Pulp Fiction guitar licks means that next track "Dragons" has a 60's Pebbles feel. The album closes out in a similar vein with "It's a Wonder" and "What About" featuring more staccato guitars and big drums, in keeping with the rather unique Blow sound.
An interesting debut from the band and one that augers well for future releases. All band members are clearly consummate musicians and battle hardened after stints in other bands. Hopefully they will be playing live dates countrywide soon, so that a wider audience can take be exposed to the sound of 50s punk soul brothers (and sisters).