Brave Rival

2022

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One of the refreshing things about this excellent debut from the Portsmouth centred outfit is, not unsurprisingly given that the lyrics mostly come from the female side of the band, that the songs are written from the female perspective. So, instead of notches on the bedpost bragging or references to lemons being squeezed etc. there are unashamedly honest (and witty) songs like 'What’s Your Name Again' from the viewpoint of the woman waking up in a strange bed after one too many the night before.

Another thing that sets this collection apart is that the band is fronted by two very powerful female vocalists in Lindsey Bonnick and Chloe Josephine, who’s vocal styles complement each other perfectly as they soar over, what turns out, on repeated plays, to be a bit of a classic Blues rock album. The track that epitomises the beauty and grand scale of the vocals is 'Break Me', which is a brilliantly tortured song about a love triangle and, as well as featuring a mini choir to create gloriously layered harmonies, has a burning guitar solo from Ed Clarke, who’s guitar playing throughout is fiery, controlled and interestingly creative.

This track is going to be featuring on many playlists, as are many other songs on this, such as the high adrenalin riff driven opener 'Heart Attack', which also highlights the tight and crunchy playing of Donna Peters on drums and Billy Dedman on bass. There’s probably more Rock than Blues influences on display but either way these are 12 absolute bangers that represent really fine song writing and production values, not to mention outstanding musicianship.

As mentioned, the vocal arrangements are to die for, especially on the Bluesy 'Come Down'. The solo on this track is another scorcher, with each note counting, but it is a pleasant change to listen to a track like this where it is the individual vocal sections that make you want to come back for more. This is an outstanding debut and will undoubtedly be one of the standout albums of the year.

Simon Green