Kris Barras Band

2019

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Working with The Supersonic Blues Machine has definitely influenced Kris Barras’ writing style; his songs already contained strong hooks, particularly displayed on previous album ‘The Divine & The Dirty’, but this new set of exuberantly played numbers have a collective anthemic quality with big powerful choruses boosted on record by the presence of female backing vocalists. KB’s trademark riffing is still present but this time there are more rhythmic power chords propelling the numbers, topped off naturally by his increasingly fluid soloing, which flows throughout the 13 new numbers.

The album kicks off with ‘What You Get’, introduced by a bass drum alone for four beats before typically fierce slide guitar bursts out of the speakers and, like a lot of the songs here, is almost straight into a powerful chorus. Following number ‘Broken Teeth’ was no doubt inspired by the guitarist’s background as a budding cage fighter (with its chorus of “I’ve never been afraid of cracked knuckles and broken teeth” propelled by furious drumming and a repeated riff and featuring some searing slide work. Like the guitarist’s stage presence, this is full of muscular energy. Unsurprisingly ‘Vegas Son’ has another busy riff at its core and a big descriptive chorus, “Finding my way with a roll of the dice, I’ll take my chance on love, because for all I know tomorrow will never come, so I’ll live like a Vegas son”. ‘Ignite (Light it Up)’ is another powerhouse of a number that bangs along like a juggernaut out of control and is going to be a live favourite.

The first change of pace and a chance to take a break from the relentless riffing comes with ‘Rain’ a big ballad. Very nice! ‘Let the River Run Through You’ is another change of tempo, featuring a more Bluesy groove and a catchy chorus. To be honest, there aren’t any duff tracks on this really strong collection, each song leaps out and makes its presence felt. On the last number ‘Pride is Forever’ the band stretch out and leave a bit more space than the full-on tilt of most other tracks. Excellent stuff. The guitar playing is superb throughout of course; like the guitarist sings on opening track “what you see is what you get”. In a relatively short space of time Kris Barras has created a brand of music that is instantly recognisable and consistently good. What next for the tattooed maestro I wonder?

Simon Green