If the Devil had his own band it would definitely be The Graveltones, though we suspect the horned one has his dark seduction running through the band’s new hellacious slab of dark rock ‘n’ roll posing as new album Love Lies Dying anyway. The thirteen track hex on ears and passions is the most virulent and incendiary roar of devilish blues rock and dirt clad rock you are likely to hear this, last, or next year, a satanic bargain promising not its but your soul to the dark side.
In a time of some exceptional rock duos, The Graveltones stand boldly to the fore thanks to the creative and musical union of the Australian bred, UK based pair of vocalist/guitarist Jimmy O. and drummer Mikey Sorbello. The band emerged in late 2011, a subsequent adventure resulting from their meeting in London’s Tin Pan Alley and a mutual love of artists as diverse as Captain Beefheart, Howlin Wolf, John Lee Hooker and Queen Of The Stone Age. 2013 debut album Don’t Wait Down stirred up greedy attention and a new wave of lustful fans for their fiery and unique sound whilst live the band was soon sharing tours and stages with the likes of Rival Sons, The Temperance Movement, Boss Hoss, Monster Truck, and Cadillac Three, as well as playing a seriously successful slot at that year’s Download. As impressive as the album was, it was just the first step to the majestic rock alchemy that is Love Lies Dying, an encounter revealing the band and its sound as the inescapable real deal.
The devilment opens with World On A String, a track emerging with a heavy stride of rhythms and a thick blues soaking of riffs. From the first breath it also has a punk belligerence to its character, an attitude which fuels vocals and adds edge to the wine of grooves igniting its anthemic canvas. Like Rocket From The Crypt meets The Black Keys at a salacious stomp hosted by US duo In The Whale, a description which closest fits the whole of Love Lies Dying, the track is pure addictive rock ‘n’ roll setting the whole intoxicating riot off in contagious style.
The invigorating revelry continues just as masterfully in the following Fancy Things, its rhythmic bones bordering on predatory as they bounce on the senses as the guitar sprays flames of melodic spicing. With vocals emulating both aspects with a mix of both intimidating rapacity and infectious temptation, the song brews up an irrepressible stomp around the tangiest of grooves; a template emulated in This Love Is Gonna Break, though the song with colourful keys provided by Carl Hudson walks a more sixties garage rock kind of landscape. It is just as much punk and rock pop too, its cauldron of merciless temptation and a chorus even the dead would be unable to refuse, simply irresistible.
Things take on a slightly more shadowy turn with Running To You next, its scuzzy blues hues and catchy rhythmic bait something close to a stalking of ears, though with a mischief in those same beats and the great vocal dynamics, the song is as vivaciously light as it is menacingly toned. Once more imagination and appetite are inflamed, and four songs in it is fair to say that lustful greed is in the equation too, all swiftly encouraged and fed further by both Never Gonna Let You Go and Can’t Tell A Man. The first of the two is the band’s current single and a little fuzz pit of riffs and searing grooves badgered by another vital rhythmic trap. The song is stirring up major attention for the band and album right now and easy to see why as its creative agitation and frenetic enterprise is just punk ’n’ roll slavery. It pounds the senses as it embroils thoughts and emotions in inventive mayhem, leaving the listener exhausted and alive. Its successor is more of a smoulder in comparison; its fiery blues melodies bourbon running around jabbing beats and the ever expressive and increasingly magnetic tones of Jimmy. It is a barroom croon, sweat and liquor fumes as pungent as the emotive hues of voice and guitar, and just addictive.
In The Throes is of a similar proposal to the previous song, but less dirty and more restrained as it flirts with ears through acidic grooves and rebellious beats. Both songs bring strong variety to the album too, another good essence within Love Lies Dying, and indeed within this track alone things are a perpetual evolution as it gets heavier and darker before making way for the outstanding I’m A Ghost. Like The Stones reincarnated as Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, the track is a maze of hypnotic beats and vocal incitement but flush with delicious surf punk imagination and garage rock resourcefulness. The song is exceptional, one of numerous pinnacles within the album but another which is sure fire manna for new ears as an introduction to release and band.
Surf seduction reeks in the haunting croon of Back To You too, the mesmeric dark balladry carrying a Nick Cave like hue to its melancholic embrace whilst Kiss And Fuck Off is psychotic brilliance shaped as a psyche/noise rock predation. Ripe with deranged imagination and masterful discordance, not forgetting rhythmic disturbance, the song forcibly hits the sweet spot which Come And Find Me stirs up even more with its aggressive and commanding rumble. Riffs snarl with alluring causticity whilst beats with a more controlled purpose prowl fuzzy air, contrasting elements uniting perfectly as the song twists and turns through varied creative scenery, including a passage of QOTSA like grooving.
Upcoming single Big Money steps forward next, slowly crawling over ears and imagination with boozy melodic vines with vocals from Jimmy to match. The relaxed percussive courting of Mikey is just as enticing, becoming punchier when the song erupts in a furnace of intensity and impassioned energy from time to time. It is not maybe the most obvious of single, compared to others within the album, but its smoulder is intensive and persuasion a lingering potency so that the song joins the major peaks of Love Lies Dying.
Together Again brings everything to a close, its low key melancholic finale a blues rock hug to drift off with until the urge to start the album all over again, which to be honest is a matter of seconds. Someone elsewhere said that The Graveltones have come of age with Love Lies Dying and you can only agree as the album song by song establishes itself as one of the thrilling irresistible proposals of 2015. There is still the feeling though that this, like its predecessor, is only a step towards even greater glories, an excitement as powerful as that bred by the album itself.
Love Lies Dying and latest single Never Gonna Let You Go are out now via Lagoon Dog Records @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/love-lies-dying/id978331780. New single Big Money will be released in July.