But boy! This RAG N BONE MAN bloke is one angry hombre!
THE RAG N BONE MAN is Lew Palgrave, from Montrose in Scotland. (Maybe that’s why he’s so apparently ‘angry!’) His previous release, ‘One Man Band Brutal Trash Blues’ was reviewed here on LOUD HORIZON, and I loved it. So how does ‘Headbutts & Uppercuts‘ shape up alongside it?
Well … in so far as it’s much in the same style of loud, abrasive, fuzzed-up slide guitar and searing harmonica, it stands comparison. In so far as it runs to eight tracks as opposed to four and lasts about eight minutes longer than it predecessor, then it also represents an excellent return for you money.
OR – it could be too much of the same thing.
To be honest, I’m caught a little between two stools here. I really do like the aggressive nature of ‘Headbutts & Uppercuts,’ but feel it should maybe have been restricted again to four or five songs. It’s an exhausting listen!
In a ‘live’ environment, with a beer in hand and THE RAG N BONE MAN doing his thing on the stage in front of you, then it would be different – I know I for one would be shouting for ‘one more song!’ But without the ‘visual’ and atmosphere …. it may be a typical case of ‘less being more.’
Anyway, to the songs:
‘My Big Mouth‘ is prime example of what THE RAG N BONE MAN is all about – big, distorted bluesy riffs and a stomping beat with vocals that really do degenerate to screams! The music’s brutal all right, and Lew throws in some lyrics to match: ‘….some cheeky bastard slashed me with a knife …. I got my head kicked in, now I’m running, running, running for my life.’
(You can tell from the song titles on this mini-album that it’s not one of a pained love lost.)
‘Dead On Arrival and ‘Sicko‘ are posted below so you can get a feel for what this is all about.
‘Brute Force and Ignorance‘ is not a cover of the Rory Gallagher classic .. just in case anyone was wondering. It is a little more subdued in its delivery than the other tracks, and has more of a ‘regular’ stomping blues feel. This is followed by ‘A Dose of Powder,’ which centres more around the blasts of harmonica and ultra-distorted vocals. It sounds, in a good way, like a Saturday sanny (Glasgow drunk) busking to the cinema queues in the city centre!
‘Feed The Lions,’ veers between the quiet, sincere and ‘conventional’ to a scream-filled crescendo. The riff has a bit of a Seventies feel to me. ‘Facebook Queen,‘ is only thirty-eight seconds long … filled with screamed vocals that give me no idea of what the ‘song is about. I’m guessing it’s actually a bit of a piss-take!
Final and title track ‘Headbutts & Uppercuts‘ is my favourite. It’s full of antagonism, but feels more ‘controlled’ than some of the other tracks. It’s not for the faint-hearted, mind.
I still stand by my ‘less is more’ assessment, but that’s probably not a valid enough reason to ‘penalise’ this release as regards the overall ‘score’ you see below. I still love what THE RAG N BONE MAN is doing, but maybe he needs to ease back, just a little, at times.
(Also – I’m scared shitless to give this dude a bad mark!)
(‘Headbutts & Uppercuts’ is available now , March 2013, through Petrol Bomb Records)