Sparking eager attention and acclaim with its release in the US last year, the debut album from Ventura, California hailing Crooked Eye Tommy has set about finding the same in the UK in 2016 and such its eclectic charm and seductive prowess, it is hard not to see Butterflies & Snakes finding matching success.
Created by blood brothers Tommy and Paddy Marsh, Crooked Eye Tommy shares a spicy melodic spell of a sound cast in the elements of heart driven blues and smoky southern rock. As their first album reveals though, it conjures songs embracing an array of flavours and moods too, all essentially seductive and emotively impassioned. Butterflies & Snakes itself is a smoke filled, liquor scented room of creatively wily romances, hip swinging enticements, and spirit rousing encounters which even one without the instinctive appetite for their kind of temptation cannot fail to get a kick out of.
With Hammond organist/saxophonist Bill Bilhou, bassist Samuel Correa, and drummer Josh Herbst alongside vocalist/guitarist Tommy and guitarist Paddy, Crooked Eye Tommy open up proceedings on the album with a track bearing the band’s name. Crooked Eye Tommy straight away entices with woozy grooves, guitars aligning their individual tonics as rhythms slowly but boldly stroll through the swiftly intoxicating proposal, one only blossoming further as Tommy’s tones join the affair.
Unsurprising yet fully magnetic, the song makes a potent start for an album which only continues to enjoyably smoulder and pleasure as the excellent Come On In next shares its sultry blues before I Stole the Blues provides a molten blues persuasion weaving openly familiar hues into something fresh and relentlessly captivating .The first of the pair offers a haze of guitar and keys around the clearer and similarly potent lure of a moodily inviting bassline and crisp beats while the second is nostalgia and imagination in one sweltering seducing, each sharing a fine wine of melodic rhapsody and sax heat.
Time Will Tell follows and soon has ears and appetite engaged in a Hammond spun romancing alone, a lure only built upon by the dazzling guitar craft on offer from the Marsh boys. It is a recipe repeated in its own design by the slow saunter of Tide Pool and though neither track quite catches personal tastes as fully as those before them both only spark full enjoyment before After the Burn forcibly hits the spot with its hip enticing stroll. It is one of those encounters which feet and bodies instinctively move to as ears feast on highly persuasive vocal and melodic endeavour.
The track forms part of the pinnacle of the album, Somebody’s Got to Pay offering the next moment as sizzling sax and serenading guitars join in on another commandingly addictive and energetically catchy affair for ears and passions. Increasingly magnetic, it sets up the more humid climate of Love Divine, a track involving a stronger melodic rock ingredient in its highly satisfying melodic ramble before the outstanding Mad and Disgusted strolls in with fifties scented blues ‘n’ roll to take best song honours. Drawing on early rock ‘n’ roll and country lined honky tonk blues, the irresistible song simply kisses the sweet spot as it pleasures the senses.
Concluded by the increasingly entrancing and melodically woozy Over and Over and finally Southern Heart, a song wearing its sound on its sleeve to reflect its title, Butterflies & Snakes thoroughly pleasures. True to tell, classic blues is not a flavour we find ourselves drawn to naturally but in embracing it Crooked Eye Tommy offers plenty to only get a keen taste for.
Butterflies & Snakes is available now through CDBaby and iTunes.
Pete RingMaster 06/12/2016
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