Echo XS 2016
Third time a winner: Miami team embark on a roller-coaster ride of a lifetime.
Five years into a career that saw Billy Livesay lend his name to a tight unit of fellow travelers, the singing guitarist’s credentials as former Clarence Clemons sidekick aren’t relevant anymore. They can explain, to some extent, the Americana slant of this album’s final third where songs turn slightly insipid… if compared to the rest of the record, but for the most part of it, the restraint of its title is misleading. Laying their blues rock on the line of affection and cultural criticism, the quartet deliver a slew of irresistible tunes which, past “I’m Coming Home” whose riff-laden embrace is quite uplifting, grip the listener and don’t let go while the fever is high.
There’s righteous fervor behind the chorus of “Pop Star” that, in case irony is lost, can actually climb the charts, yet it gets hot slowly, with the unhurried, Hammond-helped kick hidden in “Angels Of The New Millennium” – spiced up with slider roll – and “No Promises” which marries bitter anxiety to sweet anticipation. Acoustically laced, “I’ve Heard The Truth Before” doesn’t sugarcoat the reality either, but its harmonic pull is as hard to escape as life itself is, that’s why the swampy sonics of “I’d Change Everything” offer an optimism-oozing way out of this rut, before “Pick Yourself Up” accelerates the drive.
“Tell me what’s wrong with being human?” may be the key to the highway the band ride on, up and down, so when “Libertine” is shot through with a piano, their brave facade crumbles to reveal a gentle heart, and “Turn It Around” – whence the album’s title came – drives this life-affirming message home. It’s one heaven, not hell, of a journey.