I’m not sure what it is about South Wales at the moment, but last year I was lucky enough to review Phil Campbell’s first solo outing and earlier this year we had the latest offering from Those Damn Crows, both of which will feature in many ‘top 10 best albums of the year’ lists when people come to draw up their preferences. Hot on the heels of these comes another stunning release, this time from Newport’s finest. Having already opened Steelhouse Festival in 2016 for the likes of Thunder and The Darkness, played Hard Rock Hell, HRH Roadtrip, Wildfire Festival and Winter Storm amongst others, Everyday Heroes have been making a name for themselves since Luke Philips and Jay Haines met and formed the nucleus of the band at school.
The album is their first full length studio release following 2016’s self titled introduction, and 2017’s ‘The Other Side of Nowhere’ eps and whilst comparisons have been drawn with the likes of Black Stone Cherry and Monster Truck, the 4 piece have gone out of their way to ensure they are not just a copy of what’s gone before, by moving away from the sound of their previous releases.
The entire album is based on the concept of a central character and his pilgrimage as he attempts to reflect and atone for a sinful past. The character, an outlaw named Texas Red originally appeared on a 1959 country song by Marty Robbins called ‘Big Iron’.
Opening with ‘Texas Red’, the Southern Rock influences are obvious, a stomping track with plenty of guitars and a thumping drum to draw you in, but with a catchy beat and Phillips giving us the first example of that gritty vocal. I’m hooked and we are soon into the foot tapping intro of ‘Find My Way’ which drives on for in excess of three and a half minutes of bliss, by which time, I’m air drumming, totally lost in the moment.
I have to put it on repeat and when I listen through again I realise there was a guitar solo I missed the first time, which leaves me wondering which air instrument I need to be playing! When I finally get past it, I’m hit with ‘Standing Stones’, which was the first single off the album and it’s easy to see why with it’s driving rhythm and heavy guitar sound which has seen it receive a fair amount of radio play.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYBcNSEz6S0?start=1&w=560&h=315]
‘The Witch’s King’ follows and is an out and out rock track with a thumping beat and Phillips showing us what he’s got in the locker, when he breaks into a short but searing guitar solo, but make no mistake this is a band effort with Haines, Richards and Watkins all providing the solid foundation on which the track is built.
The pace is slowed a little, but none of the intensity is lost for ‘Soul To Save’ as the track explores the strange martyrs we create and how the journeys made in past lives can inform our own. Yet again though, on a basic level, this is foot tapping head banging, rock of the highest standard and these boys are delivering by the bucketload.
A southern influenced guitar riff, leads us into ‘Victorious (Take My Chains)’ which along with ‘All Outta Faith’ continues that hard rocking theme, with big guitars and a driving rhythm section. There is no doubting that here is a band that knows how to rock and for a band in what could be considered its formative years, Everyday Heroes are showing with this album, not just how mature their song writing is, but also how well they can construct a song. Which brings us nicely to ‘The Crow’ which shows just how good they are, as it starts off with a gentle acoustic guitar, meeting Philliips quiet vocals before rising to allow the full band to drive the track forward, before dropping back to a gentle finale.
There is more than a whiff of Stone Broken here, even in the vocal, but that doesn’t take away for the fact that this is a superbly crafted track and one which we could be hearing for years to come.
‘Breathe Again’ cranks up the volume, as once again we are back in hard rock territory and this time, Haines is in great form thumping the tubs, with Phillips contributing some great riffs and that gritty vocal once more.
‘West Of Forever’ takes us towards the big finish with another rocking number which starts out with guitars and drums and rarely let’s up. Probably a first for me, is the Mexican trumpet at the end, which harks back to the Marty Robbins influence referred to earlier! The album is bought to a close by the superb ‘Without A Throne’ which is both moody and menacing and brings together everything that is good about Everyday Heroes – strong vocals, great guitar work and a driving rhythm section.
I love this album and know that I will be playing this a lot over the coming weeks and in looking for specific high points to mention, I realised that actually, there just aren’t any low points. ‘A Tale Of Sin & Sorrow’ is the album we all need to get us through these difficult days of self-isolation and this barnstorming debut is sure to put these boys on the road to super stardom.
A Tale Of Sin & Sorrow is released on 5th June 2020
Album track list:
1) Texas Red
2) Find my Way
3) Standing Stones
4) The Witch’s King
5) Soul to Save
6) Victorious (Take my Chains)
7) All Outta Faith
8) The Crow
9) Breathe Again
10) West of Forever
11) Without a Throne
Everyday Heroes is:
Luke Phillips Vocals & Lead Giutar
Jay Haines Drums, Percussion & Backing Vocals
Daniel Richards Rhythm Guitar & Backing Vocals
Lewis Watkins Bass & Backing Vocals
Reviewed by : Howard Whitelaw (April 2020) for MPM