The last few years have seen guitar prodigy Laurence Jones mature magnificently, honing his approach to deliver an energetic, infectious and contemporary sound underpinned by accomplished songwriting and consummate playing. New release Bad Luck & The Blues sees him return with a classic power trio, which includes long-time cohort Jack Alexander Timmis on bass and recent arrival Ash Sheehan on drums.
Laurence Jones – Bad Luck & The Blues (Marshall Records)
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Sophie James
With Chris Sheldon (Jeff Beck, Foo Fighters, King King) and Christian Wright (Jack Bruce, Robin Trower, Ten Years After) on mixing and mastering, respectively, their collective efforts have taken this Live in the studio recording and added a vibrant sparkle onto the classic sound of ’70s blues-based heavy rock.
From the opening chords of the title track, it is immediately apparent that the band and production team have captured the very essence, the energy and every nuance of this most dynamic trio. The organic riff is accompanied by a positively pulsating bass.
While one may expect a certain amount of ‘fuzz’ to the sound, the sharp mix offers a delicate taste of that effect but does not permit it to saturate the other instrumental flavours. Laurence’s solo is just instinctive, soaring and diving, making his instrument distinctly talk to the listener.
I’m Gone sees the momentum ease, but the mass increase. Most subtlety, the slow heavyweight blues of the riff tips its hat to a small band out of Aston. With his voice maturing magnificently, such lines as “What did I do to deserve this from you,” are delivered with the authority and venom such material deserves.
Lonely Road screams down the tarmac, its infectious propulsive riff easing only to allow Laurence to offer up the verse. The guitar soon tires of being secondary and is soon ‘singing along’ and serves as a perfect preamble to the subsequent solo. A perfectly constructed piece, an excellent driving song, and I cannot wait to hear this played live.
Personally, I would have promoted this to the opening slot, although its selection as the lead single off the album was very much a statement of intent.
We are back to a slow grind on Don’t You Leave Me This Way. The menace in the air is palpable as each chord fades. The number is most reminiscent of the equally talented Danny Bryant as well as the old master Robin Trower. Again, the voice matches the sound and the subject.
The guitar playing both with the kind of riff that demands attention and the jaw-dropping extended solo is just exquisite. Unquestionably, it is one of the highlights of the album.
Lost & Broken is the first of a quartet of all-out rockers. The solo, in all probability, is the shortest on the album, but it’s that focused melodic brevity that epitomises its charm.
Stuck In The Night commences with a funkier feel whilst losing none of that vibrant approach before concluding in a full-scale sonic assault.
Take Control has a blistering all-out rock feel, which combines the funk flavours of the previous track with a subtle Sabbath influence yet again within the secondary riff.
Out In The Distance brings this senses assaulting salvo to a close.
Before first listening, and judging by its title alone, I expected Woman to fall into either big ballad or cry into my whiskey territory. Neither of these could be further from reality as the verse ventures into a delicious ZZ boogie meets glam rock prior to the galloping chorus. I Have a feeling that this will become a live favourite.
One to get heads, feet and derrieres a movin’ and a shakin’ for sure. The most recent single, You’re Not Alone, closes the album and sees us return to the feel of the opener. Again, the intro riff says, “Listen to me.”
The kind of number that one imagines making waves Stateside.
The whole album motors along, hovering around the red line and losing none of its vivacity along the way. It is a living, breathing entity and the sound of a band entirely at ease and thoroughly enjoying themselves.
One cannot praise the rhythm section highly enough, providing the most robust foundation as Laurence exhibits his virtuosity.
Laurence, Jack, Ash and the production team can be justifiably proud of a work that can be regarded as a blueprint for 21st-century blues rock.