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Saturday, October 21, 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Samarkind ooze blues and soul on their southern tinged début

WHAT happens when an Irishmen, a Polish man and a South African man walk into a bar? They form a band of course! And, while we're not sure where the bar comes into it Samarkind have produced a début that oozes class.

While there are straight up rockers here, this is an album that taps into the heart and soul of the blues roots of rock 'n' roll.

Opener 'Black Rain' has you about to kick back with a bourbon about to touch your lips before launching into a full-on, rock 'n' blues - shit-kicking good.

And, this is where the essence of the band plays out -in that unholy marriage of hard rock and blues.

Singer, David Paul Byrne, may be a name a few people in Ireland will remember from his days in Assassin, but here his voice shows versatility and maturity. 'Skinny Rivers' has him stretching his larynx out without losing the essence.

Guitarist Michal Kulbaka has the sensibility of a six-stringer who knows when to fly and when to build atmosphere.

'Good Man Call' slithers from the speakers, replete with real angst and the band keep that angst in check, narrating a tale of remorse and regret. You can imagine yourself sitting on a porch in the Deep South, a jar of moonshine in your hand, gazing long into the setting amber sun, considering your choices in life...

The balance of Mark Dempsey's bass and Marius Appelgryn's drums is accentuated by Alwyn Walker's production so that the flare is well placed, and the necessary 4/4 timing is aided with changes in the mix.

While 'Thru That Door' brings us back up to 'speed', the following track 'Fire and Blood' sneers in barely contained rock anger as Byrne trades off with Kulbaka, their ire directed at the haters and those burdened by negativity before a delicious middle-eight.

Samarkind have managed to produce an album  - albeit a short one - that touches directly on the heart of where hard rock emerged from, yet gives it a 2017 kick up the arse.

Review by Jonathan Traynor

Samarkind is released on 24th November

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