Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Stubb - Cry Of The Ocean (Album Review)

Cry Of The Ocean cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 11th November 2014
Label: Ripple Music

Cry Of The Ocean – Track Listing

1.Cry Of The Ocean, Part One 05:44
2.Cry Of The Ocean, Part Two 01:54
3.Heavy Blue Sky 05:03
4.Sail Forever 04:04
5.Heartbreaker 04:19
6.Devil's Brew 03:35
7.Snake Eyes 07:01
8.You'll Never Know 07:15

Bio

The power trios of the late ’60s and early ’70s are the blueprint for Stubb’s loud, hard-driving, fuzzed-up heavy blues rock. The band recorded their first full length album for UK label Superhot Records, and hit the road, gigging with such heavy rock luminaries as the Gentlemans Pistols, Firebird, Cherry Choke, Steak, Sungrazer and The Machine as well as appearing at Desertfest to a packed house. Making the trip over to Europe twice with Stone Axe from the USA further cemented Stubb’s reputation as a solid live act with some serious chops. Quickly, their debut album sold out and fans of heavy rock have been waiting eagerly for their sophomore effort. Now, Ripple Music is proud to deliver Cry of the Ocean, a blissed-out new album that will cement Stubb’s reputation amongst the higher hierarchy of heavy rock bands.

Band Members

Jack Dickinson- Guitar and vocals
Tom Fyfe- Drums
Peter Holland-Bass

Review:

London’s Stubb are a band whose name has been familiar to me for many years. However, it is only with the arrival of their second LP “Cry of the Ocean” that I have had a chance to familiarise myself with their intoxicating brand of heavy, fuzzed out blues rock. Within a couple of spins, I was kicking myself for not getting to know them earlier.

A cursory glance at the tracklisting tells you straight away that you are in safe hands. Any band that is willing to separate tracks into parts/movements/suites in true classic Prog style are obviously people of exquisite taste. “Cry of the Ocean” embraces this in fine fashion, kicking off with the powerful opening salvo of Parts 1 & 2 of the title track. Part 1 begins by establishing a serene and suitably oceanic atmosphere with calm guitar and gentle toms, bringing to mind Fleetwood Mac’s classic “Albatross”. The band picks up the pace, bringing in some suitably aquatic vocals before unleashing a weighty stoner riff, demonstrating the might of Stubb at full tilt. Things slow down a little as we enter Part 2 which introduces an anthemic stomp not too dissimilar from Fleetwood Mac again, but this time in full “Rumours” pomp.

This strong curtain raiser features all of the winning elements that Stubb explore in more detail over the subsequent six tracks. Taking an obvious love of classic 60/70s power trio, Cream and modern disciples such as Sweden’s Kamchatka, they add a healthy dose of Kyuss desert dirt and a desire to embark on psychedelic jams akin a more grounded Earthless (whom Stubb ably supported in London recently). A stumbling block for some bands with similar influences is the vocals. There is a fine line between the soulful, raw vocals of the likes of Paul Rodgers or John Garcia and sounding like Black Stone Cherry or some terrible, overwrought X-Factor wannabe. The vocals here are thankfully firmly on the right side of this line, demonstrating a satisfying mix of tunefulness and punky enthusiasm.
The likes of “Devils Brew” and closer “You’ll Never Know” demonstrate the kind of hard, dirty stoner rock that have established Stubb’s reputation. The latter brings the album to a close in suitably epic fashion by saving the longest and wildest, overdriven, wah-drenched solo until last. A whole album of similar tracks would have still made for a great listen, but it’s the tracks where Stubb stretch out in new musical directions that leave the biggest impression here.

Heartbreaker” shares more than a title with Led Zeppelin. Rather than echoing the powerful riffing of that classic track, this brings to mind the folkier acoustic side of the 70s monsters and provides a welcome oasis of calm as the album’s centrepiece. The album highlight for me however is the superb “Snake Eyes”. I mean it as a compliment of the highest order when I say this track wouldn’t sound out of place being stumbled upon, bleary-eyed late at night watching a BBC4 Old Grey Whistle Test compilation. The track takes Stubb’s core sound and adds a liberal dose of heavy Deep Purple Hammond and a yearning, soulful edge which brings to mind the likes of Procul Harum, particularly during the huge chorus. The track then veers into high-octane instrumental interplay which brings proceedings to a close, having covered all the best parts of 70s classic rock in seven minutes.

Overall this is an awesome album from Stubb, which given the current popularity of heavy retro rock deserves to find them a wider audience. Whilst being shamelessly derivative and hugely in thrall to obvious influences, Stubb bring a modern rawness and honesty to their music which sets them above many of their more popular peers.

Words by Charlie Butler

Thanks to Cat Jones from Southern Cross PR and Ripple Music for the promo. Cry Of The Ocean is available to buy on DD/CD/Vinyl from Ripple Music now.

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