Mu­sic to your ears

Sooth­ing sounds are a fea­ture this month, headed up by the ev­er­green trou­ba­dour Neil Young, in con­trast to a stun­ning de­but from an English rock gui­tar whiz. Greg Bush writes

Owner Driver - - News - Aaron Key­lock Mas­cot/ Provogue www.mas­cot­la­bel­ Carus Thomp­son Mind’s Eye/ MGM www.carusthomp­ The Franklin Elec­tric Indica/ MGM


Aaron Key­lock is the lat­est teenage sen­sa­tion to emerge from the UK’s vi­brant mu­sic scene. Key­lock, how­ever, is no R&B artist or would-be pop idol – he’s an ac­com­plished rock and blues gui­tarist whose mu­sic ex­udes high en­ergy. Key­lock had a hand­ing in writ­ing all 11 tracks on Cut Against The Grain, his de­but al­bum, the mu­sic mov­ing from slow but as­sured blues num­bers such as ‘Just One Ques­tion’ to the slide gui­tar frenzy of ‘Against The Grain’. Key­lock gives his vo­cals a work­out on ‘All The Right Moves’, a high-oc­tane rock song, while ‘Medicine Man’ is akin to Marc Bolan meet­ing Rory Gal­lagher. The slightly laid-back ‘Try’, with a touch of coun­try flavour, adds an­other di­men­sion to his mu­sic. Fabrizio Grossi, who has worked with Alice Cooper, Slash and oth­ers, pro­duced Cut Against The Grain, giv­ing it that magic touch.


Aus­tralian trou­ba­dour Carus Thomp­son has carved out a nice ca­reer since 1995, al­though his fan base in Europe may have sur­passed that of his home coun­try. Is­land is Thomp­son’s first al­bum in five years, and he re­turns with an in­spir­ing batch of new songs, most of which he wrote or co-wrote. With his hon­est, earthy vo­cals, Thomp­son sings of “strangers with dead eyes” on ‘Beach Fires’, a poignant state­ment of the ice epi­demic in­flict­ing Aus­tralia’s ru­ral ar­eas. The mid-paced soft rocker ‘Crash Land’ il­lus­trates the mu­sic in­dus­try’s dark side, and there’s a bright ca­lypso beat to ‘Starved My­self Pretty’. Thomp­son drifts from Perth’s Cottes­loe Beach to Mex­ico on the pi­anobacked bal­lad ‘Go There With You’ and brings out the Ham­mond or­gan for the up­beat ‘Lies’. Eskimo Joe gui­tarist Joel Quar­ter­main co-wrote sev­eral songs, as well as pro­duc­ing this ex­cep­tional al­bum.


The Franklin Elec­tric, hail­ing from Mon­treal, Canada, is the brain­child of Jon Matte, the chief song­writer and lead vo­cal­ist. Matte, who won a Nashville song­writ­ing com­pe­ti­tion in 2012, formed The Franklin Elec­tric, which re­leased its de­but al­bum This Is How I Let You

Down in 2014. A strong start, how­ever the fol­low-up Blue Ceil­ings lifts the band’s stocks up an­other notch. The new al­bum opens via a killer slow rock track ‘I Know The Feel­ing’ with a melody that hooks the lis­tener in im­me­di­ately. ‘All Along’, an in­tro­spec­tive multi-tempo song, is equally catchy. The band’s sound is am­bi­ent rock, and pi­ano is prom­i­nent, notably on bal­lads such as ‘Walk With You’ and the en­chant­ing ti­tle track. ‘Save Your­self’, how­ever, is an­other song of con­trasts, mov­ing be­tween light and shade. Blue

Ceil­ings would make a nice fit in any­one’s mu­sic col­lec­tion.

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