GRIFTER – The Return Of The Bearded Brethren

Booze, blues and beards! What a way to sell an album.

Southern blues rockers Grifter have crawled out of their Alabama Hotpocket with their second full length. Featuring odes to Guinness, Princess Leia and a Black Sabbath cover. I really should have to say anymore. But I will ‘cos I can. Yeah!

The album begins with an ode to the good ol’ Black Gold or Guinness if you need it spelling out for you. A heavy bass rumbles on in and we’re off. Grifter groove is established and Ollie Stygall’s vocals are on point…as always. With their feet firmly in the 70’s their brand of catchy arse-kicking rock ‘n’ roll is infectious and when the chorus of this first track kicks in you’ll find yourself completely won over to the ways of Grifter. Paranoiac Blues slows down the usual freight train tempo, bringing in a slide guitar with an air of Southern Gothic style. That moody and swampy sound is achieved and with some pretty melancholic lyrics this is a new texture added to the Grifter sound, and boy is it welcome.

Princess Leia is really an ode to the sex symbols gone by, for a man of a certain age and that metal bikini. I’m sure I don’t have to explain. It stomps along in it’s own sweet time and with the occasional bass groove breakdown this is one of the standout tracks on this album of, well, standout tracks. Religous dogma becomes the topic for Bow Down To The Monkey, I can’t begin to describe just how delicious and smoky the vocals are on this track. Hot damn! Godlike guitars are the star of the show on this track. Ascending to the heavens and back on down again.

Firewater is all about the riff…ha as if the rest of the album wasn’t. This one is jam packed with all the hooks…ALL THE HOOKS. These leads flow into the title track which brings the album home to roost. Its chugging rhythm is soul soothing and anthemic. I find it hard not to be completely hypnotised by all that is on offer throughout this album.

Finishing up the album is a cover. A cover of one of the greatest bands to ever commit music to record. Creators of heavy metal and all round gods Black Sabbath are usually best left uncovered. However, after first hearing this version at Bloodstock 2013 I have to say it needed to be done.

Fairies Wear Boots is the track in question and whilst with any cover they don’t so much add anything to a release, it most certainly doesn’t take anything away. With all the intricacy of the original with added blues flavour I am not too proud to admit that I kind of prefer this version. I’m not sure if I feel dirty or not. Ehh. Either way Grifter have pulled it out the bag with this and for that I congratulate them.

Grifter have done it, they’ve blown themselves out of the water. The Return Of The Bearded Brethren is a corker of an album and infinitely brilliant. Repeated listens are a must as they only add to the appreciation of the album. I really can’t praise this album enough. Just go buy it! DO IT NOW!

10

Essential

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