This is Aidan Connell's debut solo album having been in Melody Nelson and New Rising Sun previously. Aidan is of Irish Jamaican and Jewish descent and of course grew up in the Home Counties before ending up in Bethnal Green. The album is produced by Aidan Connell and David Roback from The Rain Parade, Rainy Day, Opal, Mazzy Star etc and I like the thought of him hanging out in Bethnal Green and David's credit on a record is normally enough to make me want to buy it.
So it opens with a song called I Hate Rock 'N' Roll it takes many of the genre's cliches and turns them upside down and inside out while sounding a bit like early QOTSA but with hints of Gillan and then filtered through vocals that sound laid back to the point of ennui about the boredom of rock and roll while of course being a rock song.
Everybody Else is urgent and with soulful vocals and a fizzing electric blues guitar as it builds the vocals remain at the same pace letting all the music do the work. Requiem Of Love slows things down somewhat and feels very laid back and yet the guitars as sort of sparking and going off as it slowly unfolds like it wants to sound like Sparklehorse but hasn't really heard them it's very cool and of course the more I hear them the more the guitars sound like some of David Roback's previous bands.
The Sad Ballad Of Mrs Brown is a psychedelic love lost and gone awry tale of sadness and despair. Bleeding Me Dry has a nice insistent riff with some cascading guitar sounds and a heart worn tale of friends who become leeches and need to be moved beyond as they have lost control and eventually things collapse and the music slowly fades out with some odd phased guitar sounds.
Fell On Black Days sounds like an old blues song played like he's the son of Howling Wolf or Guitar Shorty but with a vocals that sound more like a super smokey Chris Rea if that man ever really got the blues and sorry for that comparison but it is apt but damn that guitar sounds great.
The Other Side goes fully psychedelic and sounds a lot like Viva Saturn in places which is way cool the vocals are at odds at times with the music but tell a tale of saying goodbye to someone gone too soon and are heartfelt while scratching his head as to why it all happened.
Find Me In The Gutter has the feel of a song about the bad old days of Bethnal Green where you'd see the meth's drinkers at all hours only Aidan's done the more modern route of drink and drugs and ending up with everyone in the gutter without a pot to piss in and wrapped in more phased guitars and some good old blues licks to try to get his spirits back up.
Long Distance Call is another laid back blues psychedelia trip back to the days of a long distance call being a rarity pre skype et al days and again it's the guitars that grab my ears. Son Of A Gun is another song with that title and not the best one I've heard but it's still a good blues rocker about a man who likes to play around.
The bonus tracks in the cd opens with I Just Wanna Be Loved that's almost a sludgy ode to love all low slung and slow and meandering and full of carefully played guitar putting emotional emphasis onto the lyrics.
Ode To Joy is a muted psychedelic love song to the person that brings the joy and all the things that make Aidan love them and it also feels a bit like Opal at the more laid back end of their oeuvre and obviously with male vocals as he begs to be allowed to go on loving her as a friend.
Hitchin' A ride is a full on psych rock 60's inflected song inspired by or reworking previous songs with the same name it sounds like it will sound like a real stonker live. The cd closes with Standing In The Shadows a slow blues song about being in the shadows watching what's going down a cool end to a good album.
Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/PleasantvalleyRecordings/ https://aidanconnell.bandcamp.com/album/grio