Kris Barras Band
The Divine and Dirty
Other Editions: Vinyl
Gritty, angsty and ultimately divine and dirty, the debut Kris Barras Band album for Mascot Label/Provogue is an absolute stormer. 11 eleven tracks, each with their own defining point, hit the spot time and again.
The opening Kick Me Down sets the tone. It’s rich harmonies providing a deliciously contrived depth, which allows space for the magical riffs that spill from Barras’ guitar in waves.
Following this is the gospel-esque Hail Mary. As sumptuous a crowd pleaser as you’re ever likely to hear, this is a track brimming with gospelese infused zip that’s underscored by Elliott Blackler’s thundering bass lines and Will Beavis drumming prowess. Added to this is the richness of Barras’ gravelly vocalisation being juxtaposed brilliantly by Josiah J Manning’s keys.
Yes the majority of the tracks as blues-rock based – hints of Gary Moore, mixed with bits and pieces of Free, Rolling Stones and Howlin’ Wolf all but guarantee a heady mix – but there are subtler tracks too. Propane may have a fiery title, but in reality this is a number that could easily be played by The Doobie Brothers or Santana, such is the cool manner in which it is delivered.
And simply because a number of other styles have been incorporated, it doesn’t mean to say that this is an album that sings from one hymn sheet. Far from it. Wrong Place, Wrong Time is an absolute fun fest sure to have audiences rocking from bar one, chord one whereas I Don’t Owe Nobody Nothing is riddled with a determined reflection relatable to all those who’ve lives have had to change tack through no fault of their own.
The intensely listenable She’s More Than Enough and Stitch Me Up both tick the ‘let’s party’ boxes, whereas Hold On For Tomorrow and Watching Over Me demonstrate the Devon-based, former cage fighter’s gentler spirit. Both are deliciously crafted. Keeping their tone a mile on the right side of being overly sentimental although remaining deeply personal is no mean feat but one Barras pulls off with style.
Yet it’s the out-and-out rockers that really leave their mark. Top of this list, Lovers and Losers. The sheer magnitude of its sound – thanks, in no small part, to Josiah J Manning’s own production skills – brings the piece alive: its force an earth tremor, it’s resonance an all consuming thing.
Overall The Kris Barras Band have delivered an absolute triumph with The Divine and Dirty. A smorgasbord of sounds, rhythms and emotions that’re sure to surprise at every turn.
Kris Barras Band Website
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