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Blackbud - From The Sky

Blackbud, From The Sky

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

BATH’S Blackbud began life as a covers band touring the West Country and their love for classic songwriting values is fully evident throughout their debut offering, From The Sky.

The album draws on a number of influences, from the moody, strained vocal style of Radiohead, through to the more old-school rock of Jeff Buckley and even Eric Clapton. The result is accomplished rather than spectacular, but something that thrives on simple, classic values.

Blackbud are Joe Taylor (vocals), Sam Nadel (guitars and organ), and Adam Newton (drums and backing vocals) and they have clearly benefited from the many years they’ve spent on the road together, sounding musically tight throughout no matter what style of guitar music they’re creating.

There’s a bluesy feel surrounding opening track and former single, Barefoot Dancing that capably highlights the band’s talent for strong guitar riffs and lively melodies. It contains several solos, all of which satisfy far greater than the husky vocals that are probably the band’s weakest link.

When set against some fairly familiar point-making, such as “without some kind of suffering we are nothing” on 1:5:8, you tend to feel Blackbud are employing similar tactics to innumerable bands in trying to appeal to a disaffected youth. It’s not their strongest attribute.

Fortunately, when the guitars come to the fore, their music is strong enough to mask such failings. Even on fairly routine tracks such as Switch they help to enliven proceedings.

Another strong effort is the melancholy Goodbye Song (Cold Haroundan), a mellow, blues-ridden slow-burner that’s great just for kicking back with and admiring the riffs (some of which borrow from the Clapton songbook).

Forever, another album highlight, contains a vocal style that’s vaguely reminiscent of Thom Yorke but drifts off into some really great guitar riffs that elevate an otherwise ordinary record.

While Steal Away conjures some nice vocal melodies to underpin Taylor’s aching style and a decent chorus to hum along to, as well as another cracking guitar solo.

Less successful are attempts to properly chart melancholy territory as in the slow-burning Alone. Less reliant on the guitars, Taylor’s vocals appear lightweight in comparison to the frontmen of really great bands such as Keane, Coldplay or even Radiohead.

For the most part, however, Blackbud impress more because of their collective sound than anything individual. From The Sky is therefore a satisfying listen that’s more than capable of bridging the generation gap between older rockers and more indie-minded youths.

It won’t set the world on fire and probably won’t be included among any year-end best of lists but it does just about win you over eventually in spite of any initial reservations.

Track listing:

  1. Barefoot Dancing
  2. 1:5:8
  3. Switch
  4. Heartbeat
  5. Goodbye Song (Cold Haroundan)
  6. Steal Away
  7. Sitting By The River
  8. Forever
  9. Alone
  10. Days Passing Away
  11. Market Streets