Spring Fever

Great sounds abound this month, in­clud­ing a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort from San­tana and the leg­endary Is­ley Broth­ers, a Euro rock re­lease and a new one from coun­try duo O’Shea, writes Greg Bush

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COLOS­SUS

Trig­gerfin­ger Mas­cot Records www.mas­cot­la­bel­group.com Trig­gerfin­ger get straight to the point on Colos­sus, the fifth stu­dio al­bum for the Bel­gian trio. The first four tracks are rock with a cre­ative twist un­til the slower acous­tic ‘Af­ter­glow’ of­fers another side to Trig­gerfin­ger’s tal­ents. ‘Flesh Tight’ has a dis­tinct com­mer­cial sound, as does ‘Up­stairs Box’ with front man Ruben Block reach­ing into his bag of gui­tar ef­fects. The band con­tin­ues on its in­ven­tive way with ‘That’ll Be The Day’, al­though ‘Bring Me Back A Live Wild One’, with its chunky gui­tar riffs, leans to­wards tra­di­tional rock. ‘Steady Me’ is slightly sin­is­ter and ‘Candy Killer’ is iden­ti­fi­ably Euro rock. Pro­ducer Mitchell Froom and engi­neer Tchad Blake can take some credit for the sound qual­ity, hav­ing worked with the likes of Paul McCart­ney, Pearl Jam and Crowded House.

WE’RE ALL IN THIS TO­GETHER

Wal­ter Trout Provogue/ Mas­cot www.mas­cot­la­bel­group.com Singer, song­writer and blues gui­tarist Wal­ter Trout has been per­form­ing since the late 1960s, lead­ing to stints with Canned Heat and John May­all’s Blues­break­ers in the ’80s. Trout’s new al­bum We’re All In This To­gether fea­tures an A-list of blues mu­sos, in­clud­ing May­all who plays har­mon­ica along­side Trout’s acous­tic gui­tar on ‘Blues For Jimmy T’. Kenny Wayne Shep­herd brings rock gui­tar to ‘Gonna Hurt Like Hell’, fol­lowed by slide spe­cial­ist Sonny Lan­dreth who also adds vo­cals to ‘Ain’t Goin’ Back’. ‘The Other Side Of The Pil­low’ has Char­lie Mus­sel­white’s har­mon­ica spar­ring with Trout’s gui­tar. War­ren Haynes stars with gui­tar and vo­cals on the clas­sic ‘The Sky Is Cry­ing’, and Edgar Win­ter adds sax to ‘She Steals My Heart Away’. Other guests in­clude Randy Bach­man and Robben Ford.

POP­U­LAR MA­NIP­U­LA­TIONS

The Dis­tricts POD/ In­er­tia www.in­er­ti­a­mu­sic.com Pop­u­lar Ma­nip­u­la­tions is al­bum num­ber three for US band The Dis­tricts, and, com­pared to 2015’s A Flour­ish And A Spoil, it’s a step in a wider di­rec­tion. Lead singer Robby Grote’s vo­cals fool the lis­tener into think­ing The Dis­tricts are English, not a band from Penn­syl­va­nia. He starts out in whim­si­cal mode on ‘Or­di­nary Day’, the rest of the band mak­ing its con­sid­er­able mark on the mid-paced song. ‘If Be­fore I Wake’ is more dra­matic but equally ap­peal­ing, while the in­tro­spec­tive ‘Why Would I Wanna Be’ brings Grote’s falsetto to the fore. Another in­ge­nious track, ‘Salt’ sounds like it be­longs in the Brit­pop genre, al­though there’s none more in­trigu­ing than ‘Will You Please Be Quiet Please?’ The Dis­tricts, formed in 2009, are go­ing through a solid growth spurt with Pop­u­lar Ma­nip­u­la­tions.

UNPEELED

Cage The Ele­phant Sony/ RCA www.rcarecords.com Grammy win­ning rock group Cage The Ele­phant has sprung a sur­prise with new al­bum Unpeeled. Not only is it the six-piece band’s first live al­bum, the tracks were recorded in in­ti­mate set­tings with pared-back ar­range­ments. It’s not quite “un­plugged” but it’s bereft of any stu­dio tricks, with only an or­ches­tral string sec­tion and ex­tra per­cus­sion added to the band’s raw sound. Most of Cage The Ele­phant’s hits are here, in­clud­ing ‘Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked’. Front man Matt Schultz ex­cels on ‘Trou­ble’, one of seven tracks from the award-win­ning stu­dio al­bum Tell Me I’m Pretty given the stripped-back treat­ment. The string sec­tion adds to the drama of ‘Come A Lit­tle Closer’, and then it’s back to the rock­ier style of 2010 hit ‘Shake Me Down’ and crowd favourite ‘Back Against The Wall’.

POWER OF PEACE

The Is­ley Broth­ers – San­tana Sony/ Legacy www.lega­cyrecord­ings.com Car­los San­tana rein­vited him­self in 1999 with the al­bum Su­per­nat­u­ral, con­tain­ing a list of im­pres­sive guest artists. This time he’s joined forces with the last re­main­ing mem­bers of the famed Is­ley Broth­ers: Ron­ald, 76, and younger bro Ernie. Power Of Peace is a another notch for San­tana; its loaded with up-tempo boo­gie tracks, in­clud­ing a vi­brant ren­di­tion of Ste­vie Won­der’s ‘Higher Ground’ with Ron­ald Is­ley on lead vo­cals. Cindy Black­man San­tana steps out from be­hind the drums to take lead on her own com­po­si­tion, the bal­lad ‘I Re­mem­ber’. She stars again on the clas­sic track ‘God Bless The Child’. San­tana adds trade­mark licks to a ro­bust ver­sion of ‘I Just Want To Make Love To You’ and Cur­tis May­field’s ‘Gypsy Woman’, while it’s soul power all the way on ‘What The World Needs Now Is Love’.

THE SOUND OF IN­DIGE­NOUS AUS­TRALIA – NOW & BE­FORE

Var­i­ous artists Warner/ Fes­ti­val www.warn­er­mu­sic.com.au This dou­ble al­bum is a fairly com­pre­hen­sive col­lec­tion of In­dige­nous Aus­tralia’s con­tem­po­rary mu­sic tal­ent. Di­vided into “now” and “be­fore” discs with songs reach­ing back to Vic Simms’ ‘Stranger In My Coun­try’ from 1973 onto hip-hop duo A.B. Orig­i­nal’s thought-pro­vok­ing ‘Jan­uary 26’. Yothu Yindi’s 1991 hit ‘Treaty’ is in­cluded, along with the late Jimmy Lit­tle’s emo­tive ‘Yorta Yorta Man’. Ge­of­frey Gur­ru­mul Yunupingu, who passed away in July, is rep­re­sented with ‘Wiy­athul’, coun­try star Troy Cas­sar-Da­ley sings of Char­lie Perkins’ ‘Free­dom Ride’, and Dan Sul­tan rocks it up on ‘Kim­ber­ley Call­ing’. Two of the best tracks are ‘Best Part Of Me’ from duo Busby Marou, and Chris­tine Anu’s hit ver­sion of Neil Mur­ray’s ‘My Is­land Home’.

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