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Album Review : Albany Down – Born in the Ashes

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Review by Ritchie Birnie for MPM

It may have taken seven years to get album number four but I can assure you it is worth the wait.

It has been a long time for a few things with Albany Down, 2016 since last album “The Outer Reach” and 2017 since the last live gig in Glasgow…a gig that was a highlight of that year.

So do we get the old mantra it was worth waiting for ? hell yes. The album opens with “Always Want What You Cant Have”. This is already released as a single so you will probably have heard this and for an opener it instantly reminds you just how good this band are.

Second Track “Good News” brings the funk along with some up front full on Rock riffage. This is upbeat, funky and very catchy with some awesome guitars.

On “Same Damn Thing” we revert to that heavily steeped blues that Albany Down does so well. Throw in some horns and keys and this track dances with a soul vibe. The upbeat track fades into the distance as “The Memory of What Used to be” as the beautiful guitar and vocal intro starts. Vocalist Paul Turley has never sounded better and this song builds into something very special.

This must have been written during Covid as I can feel the frustrations, the sadness, the anger and the addition of female vocals is perfection.

With a distorted Jimi Hendrix guitar “Reflections” continues the blues theme and the reflections of the title has that blues sadness that is accompanied perfectly by some stunning guitar work.

The Title track is a far Rockier number. It opens like an 80s monster before pulling back like a Seattle checkered shirt ditty. The chorus kicks like a mule and has as many hooks as an abattoir.

The Rock vibe continues on “Darkest Day” with a repeated guitar splash and an attitude like a pissed off Southern woman. The breakdown is compelling, heartfelt and takes this track to being one of the best of the album, especially as it goes on its prog journey.

“Kingdom of the Blind” comes at you like a 90s Pop/Punk classic. It then twists and weaves between Blues, Zeppelin and Chilli Peppers. A left of field track that just kept ringing around my head.

The Zep feel continues on “Don’t Look Back” and it seems Greta Van Fleets success has had more influence than we think for looking back into Rock’s past. Obviously the vocals are not the same but this is Classic British Rock vocals and another song to get jiggy too.

“I’ll Come Running” just didn’t sit right for me I am afraid. It is probably due to the Beatles feeling I got and they were not a band I ever liked. This is forgotten almost immediately as the incredible “Your Days are Numbered” started. This is more like it, Rock flicked to 11, horns thrown in and those fretboards are worked on hard, I loved this song.

With a title like “This Heavy Soul” you can guess where this songs sound goes. Once again it is sublime guitars, Vocals on point and Pete Hancock’s drums sounding crystal clear. This is a blues soaked beauty that has the desperation and wanting of man standing on the edge of a building searching his life for answers and a reason to continue.

The whole album is wrapped up with “Let Your love Shine” with a positive note and a hint of Thunder. This is another excellent album from Albany Down. They have came a long way from 2011s South of the City and as well as being one of the best live bands they have produced excellent album after excellent album.

This one deserves to propel them even further and cement the solid work that has gone before…buy the album and catch them at their upcoming live shows. Albany Down are not to be missed live and these new songs are going to sound epic in the set.

Album Track Listing (CD and Digital)

1.  Always Want What You Can’t Have
2.  Good News
3.  Same Damn Thing
4.  The Memory of What Used To Be
5.  Reflections
6.  Born In The Ashes
7.  Darkest Day
8.  Kingdom of the Blind
9.  Don’t Look Back
10. I’ll Come Running
11. Your Days Are Numbered
12. This Heavy Soul
13. Let Your Love Shine

Album Track Listing (Vinyl)

Side A

1. Always Want What You Can’t Have
2. Good News
3 Same Damn Thing
4. The Memory of What Used To Be
5. Reflections

Side B

6. Born In The Ashes
7. Darkest Day
8. I’ll Come Running
9. This Heavy Soul
10. Let Your Love Shine


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