06 April 2018 (released)
09 March 2018
The first time I cam across Kris Barras was playing with the Broken Witt Rebels at Proud in Camden and I heard a rough edged but hugely passionate guitarist with a band that delivered a hell of a punch.
This is the first album I have seen from them since that night and while some of the rougher edges have been polished off his sound, the passion is there and so is some top quality playing and songwriting. I think I like this a lot.
He has his influences, for sure there are touches of Zeppelin and Free in his sound, but this is very modern Blues/rock rather more in the manner of Black Stone Cherry or Danny Bryant.
Barras himself has quite a history as a previous career as a successful MMA Cage fighter proved along with the inevitable downsides of bankruptcy and personal loss and he brings all of that life experience to his music – every track seems to come from his soul and unlike a lot of other bands you can clearly hear that he has stories to tell.
One of the songs that really strikes a chord is ‘I Don’t Owe Nobody Nothing’ with a stomping beat swirling guitar and chanted vocals, you can hear the pride and positivity of his attitude in every moment of the song.
The opener ‘Kick Me Down’ sets a huge stage up and Josiah Manning’s keyboards underline his passionate vocals and top quality riffery – in the hands of a lesser band this could be a lightweight pop=rock number but Elliott Blackler’s bass is thunderous and Will Beavis’ drums drive the song along like a steamtrain on a gradient. The vocals and harmonies are stunning.
‘Propane’ is lighter in tone, showing that they can do music without bombast and there is almost a country tinge to ‘Lovers Or Losers’, Manning delivering some sweet piano and Barras in full Bon Jovi vocal mode. If you want a softer passion then head for ‘Watching Over Me’ featuring a sublime emotional guitar line and pleading vocals.
I really like this album for its honesty and emotional integrity – I think this will be on my decks for some time to come.