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EP Review : Oli Brown and The Dead Collective – ‘Prelude

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Review by Gary Spiller for MPM

From his formative solo as an awarding bluesman via the rousing rock of Raveneye we arrive at this juncture in Norfolk-born guitarist Oli Brown’s musical journey.

Striking a course leaving his past successes in the rear-view mirror Oli has just released ‘Prelude’ his debut EP with his latest project The Dead Collective.

Aptly entitled this majestic, brooding four-track offering enticingly shimmers in a wonderful kaleidoscope of emotions. Ahead of festival dates and a UK tour with Northern Ireland’s regal rockers The Answer this EP serves well as a way of introduction to the direction Oli is navigating along.

Bursting into life during last year my first glimpse of Oli’s new project came at Cardiff’s Tramshed playing as special guests to behemothic Welsh metallers Florence Black. That April night, a few tracks into a mesmerising set, a good friend proclaimed to me “This is the British Rival Sons!” This collection of tracks adds further weight to this assessment.

In my words of review from that Tramshed introduction I described this EP’s opening statement ‘Heard It All Before’ as an ‘uproarious beast.’ With raucous six-stringing and an arenaceous gritty rhythm entwine in a composition that stands tall as a full-on howling at the moon number.

The darkened tones of the brooding ‘Sinking Ship’ are heralded by a bass-driven intro before the ethereal spirits of 70s Fleetwood Mac dart in and out of the shadows whilst echoes of Cream look on with engaging curiosity. With his guitar wailing and screaming in balanced proportions Oli and his musical compatriots have brought the jaw-dropping live experience of this track to the realms of the recording studio.

For the closing half of the EP, we are offered two perspectives upon The Dead Collective’s first single ‘Haunted.’ The first is a tumbling volution that steers headlong into a hard-riffing rocker, with more than a nod to Those Damn Crows, that slips seamlessly into a ghosting mid-section. If this is to be haunted then sign me up for a nightly incursion. Ebbing and flowing as the tide with shades of cascading blues and full-blooded rock The Dead Collective deliver in absolute truckloads.

Slightly shortened the second version of ‘Haunted’ is no less stunning that the previous excursion. Internationally acclaimed cellist Jo Quail adds a serene beauty with a stunning arrangement to further highlight the lyrical content held within. With the purity of the first melt of winter’s snow this track flows majestically demonstrating the gentle vulnerability of the track.

Teaming up with drummer / producer Wayne Proctor (King King) has proven a trump card whilst enlisting the talents of Alex Phillips on bass and the svelte synth of Andrew Banfield rounds off a fine select. The band play their debut headline show at The Flying Circus, Newark on February 1st prior to a slot at Planet Rock’s Winter’s End festival and a UK tour with The Answer.

Having reconnected, during lockdown, with his song writing and lyrics, Oli concludes “The one thing I’ve got from being able to go back to my perspective is the ability to be honest with myself and the songs. It’s a raw account of my state of mind and health and a taste of what’s to come for the Dead Collective. Out with the old, in with The Dead.”

This EP is a fine, fine precursor for what is to come from Oli Brown and The Dead Collective. If they continue to plunder the rich vein from which this high-grade musical ore has been mined from then 2023 promises to be a mighty mellifluous year.

Available on all major platforms.

Stream Here – http://linktr.ee/olibrown

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