'Six Years In The Desert'
Sometimes you listen to an album and all the songs sound pretty much the same - same tune, same vocals and the same tempo, but every now and again you find an album where ever song has it's own unique character and sounds quite different to anything else on the album.
The debut record from the new London based hard rock band, Uncle Rust, is the definitely in the latter section, and that's part of it's attraction to me.
'One-Way Street' is one of these songs that I could quite easily listen to time and again and still wouldn't tire of it. With it's central guitar riff that carries the song along and catchy chorus, the song just resonates with me but I just can't put my finger on exactly why. The vocals from Justin McConville suit the song perfectly and we shouldn't forget the inclusion of some twin guitar work mid-way through which adds an extra dimension to the sound.
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'Fake Sun Tan' on the other hand is a jolly wee guitar based tune that keeps the tempo of the album up. There is a heavier guitar section mid-way through, but as a whole it's a very enjoyable track. The drums from McConville's brother, Chris, manage to hold down a peculiar drum pattern but this, with the jangley guitar sound, gives the song it's unique identity.
'The Ballad Of Absent Friends' is one of the slower songs on the album with it's simply orchestrated intro and some great harmony vocals again with vocalist McConville sounding not unlike REM's Michael Stipe at times. The central guitar riff is used again during the chorus and really adds something to the song before it leads off into the guitar solo, which for me, is one of the best solos on the album.
'Matters Of The Heart' brings the album back up to tempo again with it's (what sounds like a) grunge inspired sound. Again, McConville's voice is really strong here enveloped as it is by the guitar riff - sometimes you even think the vocals will be swamped by the guitar sound but it never quite happens! There's another catchy chorus too, which will have you singing along after relatively few listens. The vocal changes between the chorus' and the verses are what gives this song it's own unique identity and there's some good harmony work with the lead and backing vocals.
To me, though, without a shadow of a doubt, the best song here is the melancholic 'One More Time Around' which is just an incredible piece of work. From the soft harmony vocals at the very start the song to the very last notes, it's a tour-de-force for the band.
A simple (softly spoken) voice, lyrical guitar and drums set are laid out in front of you before the main guitar riff kicks in with the chorus giving the track a completely diffident sound. McConville provides some heartfelt lyrics and there are times when his voice just send shivers down your spine.
There is, of course, a fantastic guitar solo here that seems to come from nowhere, as does the spoken section towards the end which is unexpected and at the same time just adds an extra dimension to the song before the guitar riff build and builds.
All in all, though, it's a truly stunning track that makes its way into my February 2014 play list and will remain on there for some months to come I suspect.
One More Time Around
Fake Sun Tan
The Ballad of Absent Friends
Matters of the Heart
Those Cold Emotions
The Makings of a Beautiful Day
The Lovin' That You're Fakin'
You Mean Nothin' (Part Two)
You can see the official video for 'Fake Sun Tan' here:
Uncle Rust are:
Justin McConville - Vocals/Guitar
Mags Rhymer - Guitars
P J Philips - Bass
Chris McConville - Drums
Sound Cloud: http://soundcloud.com/uncle-rust