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| 6 May 2017 | Reply

Mascot Label Group
19 May, 2017
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

When a rock n’ roll album opens with the breathy wonder of blues rock-meets Mezzanine-era Massive Attack opener Man Out Of Time, the rapturous near-gospel soul of title track Wade Waist Deep, and the alt-folk country of Heartbreak Alley, you know you’ve found something pretty unique and worth immersing deeply in.

Hailing from Orlando, Florida, and steeped in the Southern Americana of church and music that dates back to the 1920’s and ‘30s, the collective have been awarded not only #1 rock band by the Orlando Weekly newspaper seven consecutive years, but also #1 country/folk band for as long.

Thomas Wynn himself sings, and his soft, smooth vocals meld idyllically with the harmony vocals of younger sister Olivia Wynn Roche, often sounding as though there is one female vocalist, rather than a brother sister duo. Comparisons could be made with English brother-sister combo The Magic Numbers.

Organic and authentically retro, the overriding sound is most redolent of The Band, with a very ‘70s-ness to their resolute determination to blur themselves across a myriad of genres so fluidly that they never sound anything but themselves.

Take My Eyes Won’t Open as a prime example: a beautifully sparse folky into leads this near-biblical lament into a Dylanesque blues belter which exquisitely showcases the versatility not only of the Wynn’s vocals, but also of the razor sharp Believers.

I Don’t Regret firmly stakes a claim in Joe Cocker/Janis Joplin soul territory, the passionate vocals summoned from deep within, the harmonies divine.

A couple of heavier tracks (Mountain Fog, Burn As One) bring to mind hard rock revivalists Blues Pills and Blackberry Smoke, but Wynn’s sound is altogether more rooted in Americana’s many musical forms.

We Could All Die Screaming is a roaringly dark track, drenched with sumptuous organ that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Deep Purple album, and closing track Turn It Into Gold starts us out on a far quieter, bluesey note, the Wynn’s vocals soaring upliftingly together, before the Believers join in to kick out the jams raucously.

There’s no hint of “difficult third album” syndrome here: far from it, Thomas Wynn & the Believers have made a stunning record that could only be improved upon by hearing it played live.

Category: CD Reviews

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