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(Jazzhaus Records)
Release Date: 20th February 2014

Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke

Rockulus Maximus

the brew

With a swagger that comes from Grimsby in the UK, this three-piece have slowly but surely been working their way up the proverbial ladder since 2004.

Three studio albums under their belt plus their 'Live In Europe' release in 2012, some cool yet modest accolades/nominations in the shape of Best Drummer, Best Guitarist and Best Live Act in a nationally syndicated German Rock magazine called Eclipsedaren't a bad start for a band that are to ultimately sweep away the audiences of their home country. Will 'Control' do the business for them?

'Repeat' is most certainly a highlight from the ten songs that make up this collection. It's a fairly traditional form of Classic Rock that isn't alien to most ears. That is perhaps the only main criticism I can aim at these guys. The down to earth competency and excellent delivery make this seem harsh, but they don't grab the ears with any real personality. Nevertheless, with the rolling energy and determination they plough through 'Repeat' and set the mood nicely for what is to follow.

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The Brew earlier this month (January) had this to say about their goals and aspirations regarding this album; As musicians, there is always a point where you have to expand and make a change, challenge yourselves and keep it fresh. With 'Control' we wiped the slate clean and went for a raw and live feel. We all literally sat down and said, how would we do this live? So we recorded totally live. Even all effects were done in the moment to the point where you can hear the pedals being turned on and off.

Recognising their strengths as a prolific live band, they ventured in to the studio to capture such gems as 'Eject' and 'Skip' with a live spark. On those two particular examples they did a good job. In fact the whole album reflects a tasty raw notion that one may expect to hear when attending one of their shows. Result! My issue comes with the material which lacks that certain something. It's like taking a bath without any bubble-bath. Sure the water is hot and you can wash yourself and be cosy, but where are the bubbles that you can play with?

'Stop' is a strum-a-long acoustic song that gives Jason Barwick the opportunity to be emotive and let rip a little. The song works as a change of pace and again is something easily imagined in the live environment. It is then guitar time as the energy is cranked up for 'Play' and the chorus reaches out with a certain sixties vibe.

'Rewind' is quite a dish as it provides the final curtain on 'Control'. Mixing up their acoustic side with the full band adding backing vocals and some light distortion. Again, beneath the surface I detect a slight sixties thing with regards to the vocals towards the end and the melody lines.

You know how sometimes you have to be in a specific mood for a band, but when that emotion clicks with the band or a specific album by the band, you truly adore the perfect fit? Well, I suspect that The Brew will be that band for those who appreciate this sort of earthy Rock music.

Pearl Jam is an excellent band but for my ears and moods, they sit with a specific mind-set. They're not a band that I can just press play anytime. Subtlety can be so attractive sometimes. Therefore 'Control' is a good album when you're in the mood for it.

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