There’s been this resurgence of blues rock lately.
On the mega stages, that’s most interestingly translated into stuff that sits just before the borderline into metal, but that’s heavy enough and interesting nonetheless.
Stuff like Royal Blood, really, who themselves are like a much heavier White Stripes or The Icarus Line.
Rollin’ Empire’s very obvious confidence and the swagger with which they take to these deceptively simple but straight out rocking tracks probably places them in a similar niche.
But what interests me most about them is actually the similarity in vibe here to a much heavier act: late period Corrosion of Conformity.
In fact I cant believe at points in this that frontman Stephen McGurran isnt the very sonic doppelganger of Pepper Keenan, particularly from CoC’s ‘Deliverance’ and ‘Wiseblood’ albums. It’s uncanny.
They Need To Lose It
Now dont get me wrong, the music’s nowhere close. This is approachable rock done with a certain amount of smoky arrogance, played impeccably and sounding gorgeous. But it’s not the hardest stuff in the world.
Yet every song is memorable, hummable and put together with experienced ears that know what a tune is.
‘Nothing To Lose’ has a nod to ‘Mechanical Animals’ in it, and while ‘Head Over Ground’ is rather too close to some very, very famous Kasabian songs for comfort, it’s still enjoyable.
‘Bones’ is one of the heavier numbers, with a decent slam and Alice In Chains style clean picked clean/heavy/clean style.
The scuzziness on their guitars is nice, giving a sense of edge and saturation – again similar to the likes of Kasabian and Royal Blood.
I’d prefer them to really lose it and go nuts at some point, as it’s all very restrained sounding within a very tightly circumscribed idea modern popular hard rock. They can clearly play, so it would have been good to hear them lose some inhibitions and start really, really cranking it.
But it’s undemanding, it’s enjoyable, and as I say, the lads most certainly know how to write a good tune. It’s no more complicated than that. Just look at the video – these lads are pros and they’re going for the big gigs.
I hope they get them.
3.1/5 – Earl Grey ::: 22/03/16