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Album Review: Black Coffee – Take One

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OK, I am going to open with a massive frustration of mine as of late. I have no issue with the amount of talent out there today, the UK is full to bursting with amazing young bands but recently I am being inundated with fresh, brilliant and unsigned American bands.
Where does the frustration come from I hear you say, well, being stuck in Scotland I get starved of seeing these bands in what is their natural environment…live. I have been going insane waiting on the band Blacktop Mojo announcing a tour(or even a festival) over here. The only glimmer of hope for me was finally seeing Greta Van Fleet and that just blew me away…so thank you Black Coffee you bastards, I now have a new favorite band and will no doubt have to wait years to see you play live.
I will open this review with a very short summation…this album is fucking phenomenal. I love me some good blues rock and opener “Creamer” ticked every single box. That slow, lazy acoustic guitar pluck which for some strange reason flicks over to track 2 in recent single “I Barely Know Her”. With those first tastes of Ehab Omran’s vocal chords I was drawn in comparrison to UK band Bad Touch. It was very similar to Stevie Westwood’s sound and take it from me if you have not heard that band they are incredible, they are my top pick for the best, most consistent UK touring bands and I love everything they do. Stevie would also be in my top 10 list of singers of all time…and I reckon once I see this band live Ehab may just sneak in there too. The way he switches from smoky, low tones to that incredible pitch made me sit up and pay attention and then when that groove kicked in I was gone.
The song “Hurricane” came out of left field…if I thought I was in for a nice Blues/ Rock feeling album I was set straight with this song. All manner of bands ran through my mind…Guns’n ‘Roses, AC/DC, Y&T until the chorus kicked and jeez man that is Diamond Dave all the way and as the oooooooooh comes at me I end up singing, not Hurricane but it’s showtime. A brilliant fast paced song that sees some amazing fret work from Justin Young. “Monica” slithers and rolls out of the speakers, distorted guitar and all. The vocals go from melodic to screamed and the chorus has a hook like your first intake of caffeine in the morning. A seriously catchy and impressive track that has arena written all over it.
The AC/DC click guitar walks into that bands earlier(and far better) catalogue for “Born to Lie”. It has a bon Scott swagger, a Lemmy attitude and a Freddie mercury flamboyance. I can see this band grab an audience with just this song. This was stuck in my head for days.  Back to the acoustic with “The Traveller” and those unplugged chords always put a smile on my face but when you have a slow burner of this magnitude you are in for a hell of a treat. This ain’t no scout camp, fireside number. No, we are talking a night full of beer after a day full of BBQ food and now that every one is relaxed time to tell stories of your past. This reminded me of Tesla with a lot of Led Zep. It has a floaty atmosphere(probably all that beer drinking…and possibly some illegal substances). If you can give me a more laid back, chilled out number I will be surprised.
As if to explain the last song “Psychedelic Red” is up next. A bit more of the Tesla vibe with some ooooo, oooh sing along parts(this is where my earlier frustration kick in as I can see these songs on a stage). Another good song but probably my least favourite but with the rest of the album blowing me away that is not a bad thing…and it has cowbell!!!!
Now for some impressive grooves on “Fade” (and more cowbell…can I love this band any more).
The guitars on this song are split 50/50 with Slash/ Joe Perry and that is hell of a good company to keep. The vocals go up a notch to Appetite era Axl. More sheer class from Black Coffee. With album closer “Away” it gives you a feel that this was the last song written, the guys were worn down to the bone from creating a masterpiece and just needed a breather. It saunters along until we hit riffage level 10. It is Iommi on guitars now and it is as fresh as Sabbath’s debut was in the 70s.
That feeling of something new, something different and something that would shape a
generation(before we knew it would shape everything).
With this album done and dusted I am in no doubt I have just heard something very special. I hear new bands and new albums day in day out, so much so even the best melds into each other.
Sometimes it takes a band on a different level to shake you to your core. Greta Done it, Blacktop done it and going a long way back Iron Maiden’s debut done it.
I cannot believe this band formed in 2017, such a short time ago yet such a fantastic release. The
band may be an embryo but they write and play songs like masters after 30 years. This band is the future, this band has the capacity and talent to go all the way. They can own the States then they can roll their bandwagon all round the world. Arenas beckon and festivals the world over have their future headliners.
Review Ritchie Birnie

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