Albany Down is a UK Blues Rock band consisting of founder member Paul Turley on vocals and guitar, Pete Hancock on drums and backing vocals, and Ben Atkins on bass and backing vocals. Incorporating Classic Rock and British Blues Rock influences that have led to both Rock and Blues songwriting awards, ‘Born In The Ashes’ is Albany Down’s fourth album and sees the band continuing their efforts to create a sound that is “all their own”, in a field in which it’s hard to sound original.
Infectious and energetic opener, the single ‘Always Want What You Can’t Have’, sets the bar high and heralds a set of varied, engaging and life-affirming tracks that are well-played and superbly produced. The band’s determination to plough their own furrow is evident, as they often sit somewhere in that gap between Rock and Blues, with splashes of Country and Americana adding colour and helping them avoid the obvious pigeonholes.
But while it’s true that tracks like ‘Darkest Day’, which starts as an angular Blues rocker but incorporates a floaty breakdown that’s almost psychedelic, and ‘Your Days Are Numbered’, with its reigned-in Metal riff, are hard to classify, that doesn’t mean the album is ever anything other than a warm and entertaining listen.
The highlights are numerous. ‘Reflections’ is a chunky rocker with Turley’s guitar drawing Stevie Ray Vaughan to mind. The title track – a song about rebirth and renewal – is predicated on a hard rocking riff and insistent chorus line, and then goes all Americana. ‘Don’t Look Back’ is a pacy, near cartoon-Rock romp. ‘I’ll Come Running’ is gentler and more countrified and features classy brass underlay.
The slower and more soulful ‘The Memory Of What Used To Be’ is “a meditation on the relentless passage of time and the inevitability of change”, and features a swaying rhythm, subtle Blues guitar, stand-out lead guitar work, and beautiful female co-vocals courtesy of Cat Wyn Southall. Ending with the optimistic ‘Let Your Love Shine’, every track here is worthy of attention.
‘Born In The Ashes’ is an accessible, enjoyable, and well-constructed album with a set of tracks you just know will also pack a punch live. The word on the street is that Albany Down are still very much on the up.
Reviewer & Album Information
Reviewer: Michael Anthony
Issue Reviewed In: #104