Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM
Possessing one of the finest blues voices in the country, Rebecca Downes has carved a name for herself well beyond the genre and into the mainstream.
Able to handle the big rockers as well as the sultry, Downes has a tone that mixes equal parts power, pain and seduction to often devastating effect. Along with musical partner Steve Birkett on guitar, the pair have crafted an impressive back catalogue of critically acclaimed albums and ‘The Space Between Us’ is another worthy addition to this impressive roll call.
What the pair do best is mix the raw and the classy, the authenticity of emotion laid bare but also wrapped in great production that manages to make everything sound brighter.
Never tipping over into the overcooked or polished to an unauthentically smooth sheen (you get the distinct feeling that the Midlander would blanche at the thought) it is none the less a thing of high quality, every note crystal clear and a feel that you’re there in the room with them.
Stripped back and dirty, ‘Beccs Blues’ is a stark opener, its fuzzed feel giving a real crackly vinyl vibe until ‘Hold On’ sweeps in, grandstanding, cool and elegant.
Downes and Birkett certainly know about dynamics, the latter’s arrangements and production handling the highs and lows with aplomb.
They fact they can go from the powerful and haunting ‘This is How it Feels’ to the remorseless twisting of ‘Terrorise’ without breaking a sweat shows their versatility and inherent understanding of the whole ebb and flow to make the whole so impactful.
The journey from the strutting title track, boldness personified, and ballsy rockers like ‘The Lights Go Out’ and ‘Head Over Heart’ is one to just go with, each turn and detail something to send the synapses into a
fireworks display of colour and sound.
A tasty tribute to Free in the form of a scintillating cover of ‘A Little Bit of Love’ adds to the menu, the ballsy ‘Four Leaf Clover’ and apocalyptic blues titan ‘Not On My Knees’ elevate things to fever pitch. With the vibrant and lively ‘Rattle My Cage’ closing the album it’s safe to say that ‘The Space Between Us’ is another triumph for the duo and well worth seeking out.
Rebecca’s Online Shop: https://www.rebeccadownes.com/shop