Here we are then, an album celebrating the fact that Tyla (ex Dogs D'Amour) has managed to reach his fiftieth birthday without permanent recourse to a life support machine.
By far the best thing Tyla has done in a long time, its lack of innovation is far outweighed by its swagger and for a man who has spent the best part of his life trying to kill himself with aid of pharmaceuticals, nicotine and booze, his voice is pretty damn good, possessing an almost Springsteen like timbre. He's changed his name but the brand remains the same; the ghostly wandering cowboy, the freebooter; the phantom penitent looking for salvation whilst plundering his musical heritage.
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'Quinquaginta' has quite a mellow retro sound that just manages stay sat on its stool. Tyla's production has given it a slightly over egged quality and the guitar work a stabbing echoic sixties atmospheric that is reminiscent of Robbie Blunt's work on Robert Plant's early solo albums.
In essence a Rock 'n Roll record, its imperfections add rather than detract from an album on which Tyla seems to have kept everything pretty much together. Where 'Quinquaginta' scores best however, is with its what-you-see-is-what-you-get grubbiness; the sense you can smell the stale booze and fags, see the nicotine stains on his fingers, touch the frayed edginess of rock's underworld.
Stained irrevocably by Tyla's hard living and seemingly indefatigable demons, 'Quinquaginta' is an exploration of an old Rock 'n Roll soundscape that dances with Tex-Mex and country tinged Americana.
'Story Of Our Life' invokes a Roy Orbison heat haze and 'Just Another Love Song' just needs the tinkle of a Billy Powell piano to send it straight into Black Crowes territory. 'Hang 'Em High' and 'The Hellraisers' have a Beat Farmers rocked up country groove thing whilst the horn driven 'Untouchable''s soul should have you shaking your thing around the kitchen.
It's a sun baked and cactus strewn platter that remains quintessentially English but if you are expecting the swagger of 'Exile' period Stones then you will be disappointed.
I guarantee you'll think "what the fuck is this?" when you first slap it on the decks but persevere and you will be rewarded tenfold with an album that is the audio equivalent of your favourite tipple. Very much a slow burner but worth the effort.