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| 4 November 2018 | Reply

HipsterDumpster Records
July 2018
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
8 ½ /10

Put blues rocker Matty T Wall and legendary producer/engineer Bob Clearmountain together and you’d have to try pretty damn hard to mess things up – and they haven’t come close with Sidewinder. Almost predictably, the results here are crystal clear, Clearmountain’s mixing duties exemplary.

Wall plays a blinder, with drummer Ric Whittle and bassist Stephen Walker providing just the right foundations for him to build on sonically.

Wall lets loose on slide guitar for opening instrumental Slideride, the notes simply searing their way out of the speakers. The title track is a full throttle, explosive rocker, whilst Something Beautiful is mellower, featuring a latter-day Hendrix/Kravitz vibe that gets right up and into Trombone Shorty & Ryan Montbleau’s gorgeous song.

Of course, Wall refuses to JUST play the blues. Sam Cooke’s classic Change Is Gonna Come shows his soulful side to great effect, featuring a gorgeous, heartfelt solo. His take on the blues rock standard Going Down starts out restrained, then like a prize fighter the guitar jabs start coming faster and faster and more severe. It takes a lot to breath new life into a song that’s been covered by just about everybody ever, but Wall succeeds and does it well.

Shake It, Sophia’s Strut and Leave It All Behind are further examples of his own songwriting gifts improving all the time, and he even has a stab at Chris Thomas King’s ‘dirty southern hip hop blues’ Mississippi KKKrossroads. It’s not what we were expecting, but again Wall knows when to strut his stuff and when to hold back and wait before delivering the TKO, and this song may as well have been written for him as he makes it his own with impeccable style.

Matty T Wall is getting better all the time, and Sidewinder is arguably his best album yet. Even in an age where kids are transfixed by fake news and autotuned music and illegal downloading, he’s forged his way onto the international blues scene for very good reasons: he’s the real deal, the great white hope, and he’s just that bloody good. Sidewinder is a blinder.


Category: CD Reviews

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