We Will Get Through This
Timeless Punchy British Style Rhythm and Blues With the Emphasis on The Blues But with Plenty of Rhythm Too.
On my radio show last week I played a track from the Revelator album and said something about “where are they now?” then three days later this arrived …. come on; is there a Greater Force at work somewhere?
Oooohhheeee! Opening track, No Smoke, No Fire starts where The Revelator left off; deep down and durty Blues with a crystalised Rock spine. Singer/guitarist Chris Chalmers sounds like an illegitimate offspring of a one night stand between Stevie Marriott and Maggie Bell, while his guitar playing, alongside drummer Monty Sneddon, guitarist Paul Wilkinson, guitarist Ady Young and bassist Marty Young sound like they’ve been listening to a lot of early Groundhogs.
As I said in the Revelator review; I love The Blues and get sent a lot of albums in this vein; but the majority are actually RAWK bands masquerading as Blues Bands; The 2.19 are the real deal though; listen to second track Turn Out the Lights with it’s guitar playing that is so tense it sounds like a coiled spring and when harmonica player Andrei Marinescu swoops in; you’d swear you were back in the Club -a-Go-Go circa 1964, or somewhere sweaty on the outskirts of Memphis only last week! Timeless, my friend …. timeless!
I’m sure you will read elsewhere that these songs will be ‘best played live’ …. which may be true; but that takes nothing away from the recorded version here ….. the bodacious Ready To Go will be the perfect soundtrack to a late night car trip to work; or early morning via headphones on a bus; whereas the melody on the Blues lament, Radio Smiles alongside Marinescu’s sultry harp playing will be a ‘go to’ when you’re doing household chores.
It’s Chalmers use of words and imagery on songs not just like that one; but the Rocking and Reeling Seven Wonders that raises The 2.19 high above the bar set for 21st Century Blues Bands; and on and in The Reach he and the band go way beyond the call of duty; again hinting at the Groundhogs but with a smattering of Humble Pie and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion too …. especially the funky-ass Hammond riffs that are littered throughout.
On the most obvious level, this album ‘sounds great’ ….. mostly because the band aren’t afraid to use a melody and a bouncy beat when it suits; unlike most of their contemporaries who seem to owe more The Damned and Ramones than they do Muddy and Wolf!
As I allude to; there are plenty of nods to the past here; and why not use your influences for a greater good; but be under no illusion, when The 2.19 can write songs like the brittle, beautiful and introspective ballad, Broken Harmony Blues which features a stunning duet between Chalmers and Amy Montgomery as well as the swamp infused and Exile on Main St influenced; Hey Carolina and neither come close to being my Favourite Song; you know you must be listening to someone very special indeed.
Two songs have constantly drawn me back time and time in the last week ….. the title Best Suit intrigued me; even before I’d played it; as I’m a lover of a suit myself; but in this case the singer tells us that he is wearing his ‘Best Suit’ for an appearance at the courthouse! If I didn’t know, I’d sweat that this was a Muddy Waters or more up to date, Lew Jetton or Paul Lamb song re-jigged; but it ain’t ….. this is straight outta Belfast in 2023!
The other song; and probable winner of the Favourite Track is the claustrophobic finale;We Will Get Through This; a much gentler song than everything that has preceded it as the acoustic guitar (with occasional bottleneck) and could be about the ‘greater problems’ facing us all politically and socially; or it may be about a relationship teetering on the brink of a possible closure; or in my care … and that of several other sufferers; far more personal and telling himself that the clouds will disappear soon…. definitely soon.
The 2.19 cover a lot of ground here, and for a band stuck on ‘a local circuit’ and ‘waiting for the big break’ …. sound like they are making music that they want to hear themselves and damn the ‘decision makers’; ‘ in their stuffy offices.
I agree wholeheartedly with that philosophy, as there definitely is an audience out there just waiting to hear them.
These kids are as good as I have heard in the last twenty years or more; and probably as good as most before that too….. Timeless Rhythm and Blues with the emphasis on The Blues but with plenty of Rhythm too.
Released 23rd January 2023
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