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| 15 April 2020 | Reply

Label: Silver Sky Records

Release Date: March 24, 2020

Rating: 96%

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

This seems to be the year of new bands on my radar, including Aussie independent rockers Riff Raiders, who have unleashed a cool slab of rockers on the world just in time for quarantine enjoyment.  Disc opener “Loaded Gun” is one of the most fun rock tracks I have heard in a long time, from teh heavy handed rhythm section to the slide guitar and the killer vocals.  This track is solid rock from opening note on through the verse and chorus and specially at the bridge, where one of the best solos on the disc from Marty Powell makes an appearance.  “Stop Looking At Me” is another cool track that benefits from a solid foundation form the bass and drums.  The vocals are cool and give us another facet of Jenni Powell’s voice to enjoy.  This is a great blend of punk attitude and rock and roll vibe.  The self-described instrumental “No Words” opens with an ominous sound from and is an interesting piece that sonically contradicts the pop rock sound of the songs that bookend the track.  “Light” features some great guitar work, from the tempered opening that slowly unfolds from and blossoms as the rest of the band joins the musical fray.  Marty Powell’s guitar leads are less bombastic, but don’t mistake volume for talent – this is a fun listen.  “Stepping On A Cloud” features a big guitar sound woven together with some solid bottom end from the drums and bass and vocals that depart slightly from the sound of the other tracks, showing the bands diversity and ability to shift musical direction.  Don’t get me wrong, this is still a rocker, just not in the same vein as the other tunes on this disc.  Disc closer “Shade” builds on the mellower vibe of “Sunset To Sunrise” but swirls in a heavier groove and thumping bottom end.  The vocals on this track are the star underneath the near perfect accompaniment, as we get to hear Powell’s emotionally driven delivery.  The changes in her tone really drive home the lyric and the guitar solo on the bridge seems to be as much from the heart as it is the groin.

“Samantha Jones” is a great listen from the opening riff through the verse and into one of the most contagious choruses on the disc.  This song alone made me seek out the bands website and order a copy of the disc for my collection.  The song is a perfect swirls of pop, rock, and punk, without deviating from the discs sound.  “Best Day Ever” is one second half of one of the best one-two punches on a disc I have heard in a long time when coupled with “Samantha Jones.”  The thumping bass lines from Ron E Smith drive the track while Ross Hetherington’s drumming helps anchor the track.  Jenni’s vocals are spot on through the verse and seem to gain momentum at the chorus.  “When I’m Dreaming” is a killer track that blends the rock quotient the band has perfected on this disc with a cool garage rock feel that permeates the track, especially on the verses thanks to the Jenni’s vocals and the chugging guitar riffs from Powell and Josh King.  The track begs to be played at max volume racing down the expressway with the car windows down.  “Standing On My Own” gives both Powell’s room to run with some great vocal and guitar contributions, as well as a stellar performance from the rhythm section.  The drumming gets your foot tapping while the fret work stirs the air guitarist in each of us.  The stripped back production allows the music and vocals to shine through on the entire disc, and this song highlights that.  “Sunset To Sunrise” gives us a different glimpse and listen to the band, with an acoustic track that marries a beautiful vocal with guitar work that makes you pay attention and listen, even without pings, squeals, and everything turned up… even after the song builds into the chorus and we get a rocking acoustic track that stands out listen after listen.  These guys embrace who they are and make no apologies… and they shouldn’t.  This is one of my favorite new bands and I can only hope at some point they travel across the big water and tour the US.

Tracklisting: Loaded Gun – Stop Looking At Me – Samantha Jones – No Words – Best Day Ever – Light – When I’m Dreaming – Stepping On A Cloud – Standing On My Own – Sunset To Sunrise – Shade

Lineup: Jenni Powell (vocals) – Marty Powell (guitar) – Josh King (guitar) – Ron E Smith (bass) – Ross Hetherington (drums)






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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