From between England and Sweden, a new force arises, heavy and beautiful.
Since ALICE COOPER’s debut, a woman’s name on a record’s cover doesn’t imply a female artist’s involvement, and still there’s always a surprise. But, in the case of this international formation gearing up to debut with album called “Mourning Phoebe”, there’s also an immense pleasure that rolls over one’s ears once Al Strange’s drums let in a hot fudge of Mikael Johannesson’s slide and bassist Phillip Hackney voices a threat of “Love Finds You”.
The power trio’s balance of contemporary edginess with an ancient Delta idiom, supported with a gentle organ roar, makes them an irresistible proposition, what with big choruses and incendiary soloing. Yet their other single, “The Ballad Of Evilyn Strange”, lowers the swagger degree for much more furious, SABBATH-inspired approach, Eastern motif and dry harmonies. Still, there’s a trancy-dancy groove underneath, so the threesome’s collective tongue seems to be firmly in cheek. Good.
As for the real balladry, this base is covered with “Everything” in the most MTV-generic way with an unexpected orchestra-and-piano seismic surge that may win the band a steady following.
EVILYN STRANGE can rise to stay, then.
****4/5 / *** / **1/2