Due for release on September 1st, Albany Down have their new album “Born in the Ashes” out for download, CD, and vinyl.

Albany Down is:

Paul Turley- vocals and guitars, 

Pete Hancock- drums and backing vocalist, 

Ben Atkins- bass and backing vocals.

The band has recorded four studio albums with producer Greg Haver (Manic Street Preachers, INME, and Super Furry Animals) and here is my track-by-track review of:

“Born In The Ashes”

1.  “Always Want What You Can’t Have.”

A strong, punchy number opens the album, it was the single and comes with a great, fun video. The riff is a fist puncher, and the guitars take us straight into a no messing beat. The drums and bass sounds that drive this track are bang on target too. A strong start for the first song the band recorded at Rockfield Studios.

2.  “Good News”

Let’s face it, we could all do with some good news! And this song blasts out some old fashioned rock n’ roll as it kicks out negativity in life. It is one to strap on your air guitar and rock out to. It’s a decent album track that would go down a storm live.

3.  “Same Damn Thing”

This moves us more into a funky blues territory. Lyrically, it reflects on those times when we can’t get ourselves out of a rut. It has this great guitar break mid-section; and I liked the “pow pow” musical touches! You may know this track as it was released as a single at the start of the month.

4.  “The Memory of What Used To Be”

This one changes direction for a lament, it has a stripped back sound with this impressive rhythm. I liked the song on nearly every level. It is a meditation on the relentless passage of time and the inevitability of change, featuring the beautiful, soulful vocals of Cat Wyn Southall.I would describe this track as commercial and Radio 2 airwave friendly. It also has an American South feel to it, and I think it would do well on the US commercial airwaves too. 

5.  “Reflections”

This returns us to a heavy funk rock style,

“Lost in the Desert, I’ve been stranded at sea…”

The lyrics contemplate how we are often everywhere but where we are meant to be. I liked the track, a big drum sound (that I would have turned up a bit more in the mix) helps deliver the slow-burning rock number. The track shows maturity in the songwriting; it’s very good!

6.  “Born In The Ashes”

This one blasts through the speakers, it would make a terrific driving song! It’s a big chorus number and a song about rebirth and renewal, which seems appropriate as the title track of the new album. The band’s first live performance of this song was at the Whitby Blues Festival in November 2022, which proved to be the perfect setting for their “Born In The Ashes” album music video.

7.  “Darkest Day”

It’s a bit of a song montage. It has this bad boy boogie in there (ZZ Top shuffle style). It’s interesting lyrically, taking us off to castles and fading memories of times gone by.

8.  “Kingdom of the Blind” (not on the vinyl version)

An interesting title, with origins (for those who like to know) in the  Genesis Rabbah as בשוק סמייא צווחין לעווירא סגי נהור, meaning “In the street of the blind, the one-eyed man is called the Guiding Light.” This rocks along with a melodic chorus and some cool punding on those drums again from Pete Hancock. Again, a great riff from the guitar’s midsection

9.  “Don’t Look Back” (not on the vinyl version) 

We turn up the speed dial here, its a song in a hurry, and if I were driving, I’d be in trouble for speeding! I’d bet this would be a classy track live, they have to get it into the live set!

10. “I’ll Come Running”

This track features Brass recorded by Uppercut Horns in New Zealand, and it adds texture to the album. The song has a swing to it; it is a real feel-good radio song with plenty of harmony, and can be heard with a big smile, one of the shorter tracks on the album.

11. “Your Days Are Numbered” (not on the vinyl version)

This song, which is about ending a dysfunctional relationship, draws inspiration from corrupt leaders who are clinging to power. It keeps the hard rock feel with a chugging guitar rhythm that underpins it. I enjoyed the guitar/drum interplay in the latter section of the track.

12. “This Heavy Soul”

This one is a  heartfelt ballad and a message of hope to those who feel the weight of existence is too much to bear. I think it fits the pattern of the whole piece in the way it looks towards positivity in the darkest of times.These guys want to lift us up, as they know we often face the darkest of times.

13. “Let Your Love Shine”

The last track ends on an upbeat note, a bluesy sound that rocks along in a positive mindset to close the album.It’s a love song full of optimism and hope!

In summary,

This is an album that struts and swaggers its way through my living room speakers. These guys are clearly great musicians and deliver a sound that veers between commercial rock and bluesy rock, with a dose of funk rhythm now and then. For sure, there is a lot to like here, and it has a very radio friendly chemistry, I’d say turn it up; up to ten is never enough!

Standout Tracks: “The Memory of What Used to Be,” “Always Want What You Can’t Have,” and “I’ll Come Running.”

Produced by Greg Haver

Engineered by Clint Murphy

Assistant Engineer: Tarrant Shepherd

Backing vocals: Cat Wyn Southall

Keys: Nick Nasmyth

Strings: Andrew Walters – The Vulcan Strings

Brass: Uppercut Horns

French Horn Matt Jewell (Darkest Day)

Bedford Friends Choir (This Heavy Soul)

Mastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound USA

The band is on the road in 2023 to support the album release:

Tickets linked here

24 St. Mary’s Street, Bedford, MK42 OAS

Greystones Road, Sheffield, S11 7BS

12-16 Northgate Street, Chester, CH1 2SA

33 Bath Street, Leamington Spa, CV31 3AF

Earle Street, Newton-Le-Willows, WA12 9LR

Marine Road, Morecambe, LA4 4DB
(Supporting Chatel McGregor) 

By Stevie Ritson

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