Kris Barras Band
THE DIVINE & DIRTY
Mature and Adrenaline Fuelled Blues Rock From the School of Hard Knocks.
Timing and mood is everything when discovering new music. The dark clouds were gathering earlier this week and I started and couldn’t finish three potential reviews of singer-songwriters; it just wasn’t working for me…..then I picked up this CD and ‘the cover spoke to me’…..maybe that’s not true, but if the music reflected the darkly amusing artwork; it was probably what I wanted and needed.
Opening track Kick Me Down is an intense and borderline epic Power-Ballad (as we used to call them) that hit me full in the chest……just like I wanted. Ex-Mixed Martial Artist and bankrupt Barras doesn’t just sing from the heart; but the gut as he winds his guitar up like an IAD and a choir of reprobates provide a fog of harmonies on the chorus too.
What’s not to like?
Barras’ songs are adrenaline rides from start to finish; and for a kid from Torquay he sure has a fire in his belly on Stitch Me Up and the low down and dirty Blood on Your Hands where he sounds more than a bit like Steve Marriott in his Humble Pie days.
If you listen carefully Barras opens his heart on a couple of songs; with the sweeping and weeping album closer Watching Over Me being about and dedicated to his father who bought Kris his very first guitar and supported the lad as he trod a very precarious career path but sadly died at the tender age of 54; and the son’s love comes through in every note, word and chorus.
Another deeply personal song is I Don’t Owe Nobody Nothing, which is passionate and deeply honest in both words and deeds; showcasing Barras’ skills on that damn hot guitar as he draws on the experiences he had when a business venture went South aged 19.
What I especially like here is how our man neatly moves past the love ’em and leave ’em attitude which can be a prevailing attitude in Blues Rock because Lovers or Losers, She’s More Than Enough and more importantly Propane show some very mature songwriting in a very immature industry; and the dexterity of the players alongside Kris Barras is really quite excellent too.
Probably because of the mood I was in yesterday two very diverse songs tie for the title of ‘Favourite Track’; the first is the fire and brimstone fuelled Boogie of Wrong Place, Wrong Time which sort cheered me up and made me shuffle my feet more than once in the day, but later on I had to ‘repeat’ the delightful ballad Hold On For Tomorrow a couple of times as the words knocked me for six as Barras grabs the heartstrings and pulls, tugs and squeezes until the listener finally gives in and smiles (in my case).
Although age is a relevant concept here, but there appears to a spate of ‘young’ British Blues Rockers around at the moment, each with their own merits and certainly influences, and in the case of the Kris Barras Band we have an excellent guitarist with an even better singing voice who can write a Blues Rocker more articulately than most; using a lifetime of hard knocks and a cool record collection to develop a very distinctive style of their own for his band.
Released April 6th 2018