This is Pete Spiby's first solo album but he has been familiar too many of us previously as the front man with Groop Dogdrill and Black Spiders and just for some of those Groop Dogdrill shows he'll never be the Failed Magician of the album's title as they brought the magic to our ears. This album was funded through a pledge campaign that allowed for a double album Executive Produced by Chris Carter which is always a good thing.
The first cd sounds more or less as if nothing's changed too much as the Monster riffs kick in on Lightning Bolt and Pete is strangely telling us he won't do the dishes no he'll crush them under the power of the riff before he decides the Lightning bolt is really that all he needs is to do some Bible Studies and it's a bit of an overblown blues angst pleader as he lets us know that the bibles times are over.
He then remembers what it was like waking up on a Saturday on Friday Night (Just Died In Saturday Mornings Arms) as he wishes the goodbye to whoever he's putting on the train in the morning all bleary eyed and it almost sounds like it needs a proper over the top video with the two lovers parting as the guitar solo kicks in, this would have been perfect on Headbanger's ball or on VH1 it almost feels like it's a borderline monumental ballad and not in a bad way.
We Used To Be Friends is a un-love letter to an ex that he's obviously thinking about but does this mean he want them back or is she like an old band that you just can't reform for one reason or another this builds with another grungy riff as he wonders why the love he thought would never die died.
Why Not Let Them Come sounds like an argument over party invites set to a raw blast of blues grunge as he wonders why you won't let them come. Wrap Me Round Your Little Finger opens with his son Edison's voice before the colossal riff comes in and Pete starts to beg and plead that you do as the title suggests before the music coils around you and draws you in tight to his vision and world.
Guiding Light isn't a Television cover but another big bruising riff based song about walking home on a Sunday Morning with that glow of a good night out behind you but no hangover in sight from the sound of it and hoping whoever he left is his Guiding Light rather than the folks going to church.
Mary Lous Dawg is down at heart blues shimmy as he tells us how much better he feels now he's no longer your dawg. Working For Mary Jane is a rather full on paean to being paid in weed rather than cash and how it might fry your brain over a song that just sticks in my head really well with a cool breakdown in the middle before we can all sway along to the second half of it.
Thrown To The Wolves is monstrous swaggering brutal slow riff rock cry for help as his life comes crashing down having been Thrown To The Wolves and abandoned as someone ran off with his other half and he sounds as if he's about to scream into the void for a good while but decides to crush his hurt beneath the riffs instead a great way to end the first cd.
The second cd generally strips things back and opens with the nice and sparse Guiding Lite Blues that sets the tone and feels almost like a skeleton to the heavier version on the first cd but also shows another side of the song which is how most of the second cd works.
Mary Lous Dawg (Came Back) is an acoustic rumination on life after Mary Lous left and comes complete with some whistling as the only addition to the acoustic guitar and vocals. Why Not Let Them Come Again is barely there as Peter almost whispers the vocals it's gentle and totally effective.
We Used To Be Friends (slight Return) works really well as a spare and raw acoustic strum with twin vocals making the lyrics work really well for some late night introspection. Thrown To The Blues is a ukulele led strum to the dark end of Pete's life that uses the switches in tone from the Uke to the acoustic guitar to add emphasis to what he's singing about.
Lightning Bolt Blues sounds like the perfect accompaniment to washing the dishes while the guitars have that rural blues feel to them that make me Imagine Pete sitting on a porch playing them with crickets chirping for company, not that it has any cricket noises on it.
Mary Jane Blues is music to roll a big fat one too while sitting in the darkest room you can find with just one tea light for company it's sad and sparsely downbeat. Bible Study Blues is like the Reverend Gary Davis has been haunting Pete and he needs to ruminate on just why the Apostles time is done oh and I know he doesn't name the normal big 4 but the one substitute doesn't change the tenor of the message no matter what happened to Mark.
Little Finger Blues keeps things nice and dark with some strings adding to the sense of late night yearning and hope for better times once the cruelty has ended. The album closes with a gentle strum through the Friday Night Blues that this time round needs lighters in the air as we sway along to it as it closes a very enjoyable double album the second half of which is the comedown to the night out your getting ready for on the first cd so to speak.
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