Album review – OLD JAMES ‘Speak Volumes’

speakvolumesOld James’ new album ‘Speak Volumes’ is as glorious a rock and roll album as you could ask for. I’ve listened to this wonder of a release on a loop over the past week, and it only gets better the more I hear it.

This Canadian three-piece has a huge, joyfully powerful sound – rooted in the 70s, but without ever sounding dated in the least. With the amazing voice of Brian Stephenson, and the inspired musical skills of Andy Thompson on guitar, and Chris Stephenson on drums, this band has it all: swagger, strut, confidence, and tunes that make you yearn for more.

The whole album has a blues-rocking, groove-heavy, riff-powered vibe, with echoes of bands like Led Zeppelin and Free. Each tune just flows so beautifully, as if it’s being created in the moment, as you’re hearing it, giving me the feeling that I’m sitting at the stage in some club somewhere, listening to the band just jamming their ever-loving heart out on stage. Old James just has that kind of thing going on: an energy that is both enticing and addictive.

old_james_2017
Old James. Photo by Tammy Raybould.

It’s hard to pick out favourite tracks, because the whole album is so good: which track I love the best seems to depend more on my mood and the time of day.

Standouts include the excellent ‘Don’t Put It On Me’, a track that starts off the album with a rock’n’roll howl and just proceeds to kick butt from there on. ‘Lemons (The End of Something)’ is delicious as well, with golden vocals and some heavy hitting drums that’ll rattle your ribs.

But wait, there’s more! Another one of my favourites is ‘Words As Weapons – a heavy, crashing, smashing rocker; the riffy goodness of ‘Kill Off The Rose’, the raucous ‘Eugene’, and the free-flowing awesomeness that is the title track ‘Speak Volumes’. Extra points for the moody, trembling instrumental ‘Bass-Ik Instincts’ – the tune’s only flaw is that it’s not longer!

In short: get this album, play it loud, and enjoy some top-shelf rock’n’roll.

‘Speak Volumes’ is available on all digital platforms, free-streaming at the band’s website, or you can buy a physical copy from the band’s online store: http://www.oldjames.ca/shop

Old James on Facebook / Twitter / Bandcamp

Photo cred: Tammy Raybould @tammyraybouldphotography

Tracklist:

  1. Don’t Put It On Me
  2. Lemons (The End of Something)
  3. Words As Weapons
  4. So Real
  5. Salutations
  6. Bass-Ik Instincts
  7. Kill Off The Rose
  8. Master Imploder
  9. Eugene
  10. Speak Volumes

Lineup:

  • Brian Stephenson (Lead Vocals/Bass Guitar)
  • Andy Thompson (Lead Guitar)
  • Chris Stephenson (Drums/Backing Vocals)

 

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