The fourth album from David Sinclair and the first with his band as a quartet, 4 is one of those encounters which makes a decent first proposal and then with increasing tenacity continues to endear itself to ears and thoughts over time. The David Sinclair Four release contains ten varied and highly flavoursome slices of rock ‘n’ roll which spring from a blues rock seeding but never restrict their enterprise to any single musical colour. Equally there is a feel good factor which fuels songs looking at and springing from the diverse culture of the artist’s home, London; the result of all essences together being one enjoyable proposition.
The current band line-up came together in 2013, bassist Jos Mendoza and guitarist Geoff Peel linking up with vocalist/guitarist Sinclair and his drummer son Jack, their addition turning the David Sinclair Trio into the David Sinclair Four. Before this the band had already released a trio of acclaimed albums in the shape of Hey (2006), Threewheeling (2008), and Take Me There (2013). Live too the band has been a greedily devoured proposal and list playing with the likes of Wilko Johnson, the Oli Brown Band, Marcus Bonfanti, Johnny Dowd, Graham Bonnet, and Willie Nile amongst many on their CV. Now the four-piece are setting about bringing the summer a healthy stroll of rock to swagger along through their new album, a release easy to see following its predecessors in drawing the plaudits.
The album opens with Sick Of Being Good and an initial potent caress of guitar to awaken ears. Imagination is swiftly stirred too by a subsequent sturdier stroll of energy and sound led by an infectiously enticing hook. The song continues to lure in appetite and attention with its blues hued catchiness and David’s vocals, backed well by the band. There are few surprises in the song but plenty to get hungry teeth into with an expressive guitar invention, warm harmonies, and colourful enterprise shaping every twist of the song.
The strong start is matched by the following treat of The Click-Clack Man. The tale about a character on the search to meet I am led to believe Tom Waits; the song has a seductive swing and resourceful adventure to its quickly enslaving presence. Hooks and grooves create an inescapable web to which a deliciously roving darkly toned bassline and crisply swung beats add further drama and temptation. The song is irresistible to feet and emotions, the biggest highlight on the album though often rivalled.
The sultry blues climate of next up Life Gone Cold brings further variety to the album, its slow saunter equipped with fiery flames of guitar and emotive intensity. It does not have the spark of the first two songs though but with again mouth-watering guitar craft and potent rhythmic bait alongside straight-forward and easily accessible lyrics, ears held easily before being excited again by Crude Emotion. Rhythmically muscular and casting a heavy stride from its first breath, the song is another unveiling of contagion posing as grooves and hooks. The swing of its body is an incitement to physical participation and the funk infused chorus bait to a vocal union, as band and track create another major moment within 4.
The excellent Down By The Canal comes next, and swiftly transfixes as the excellent guest vocals of Maxi Priest flirt with ears alongside the tones of David. The song’s reggae hued scenery is just as magnetic, drawing a swift smile with its engaging revelry before making way for the blues smoulder of World Turns Around. The harmonica of Paul Jones, another guest on the album, is a spicy flirtation matched by the fiery craft and sounds uncaged by Peel as the song swerves with the persuasion of a temptress within ears. Both tracks entice and reward enjoyably whilst providing further fresh textures and creative ventures within the album.
The remainder of the album for personal tastes does not quite match up to what comes before, though songs like The Illness & The Cure and Give Me A Rose which follow, only provide easy to consume and enjoy offerings with their individual blues rock spiced ventures. They just do not have the extra ingredient to ignite these particular ears, feeling a little flat against the quality sounds earlier in the release. It will obviously not be the same for everyone though and there is nothing less than enjoyment gained from the tracks or the closing pair of Coming Out Of The Rain and Coming Off The Rails, they also strong and enjoyable encounters but again just do not have that extra ingredient found in other songs upon the album. The penultimate song sees David dueting with Lorna Reid, who also co-wrote the song, their union another flavoursome delight, whilst the closing song again embraces the vibrant flair of Paul Jones.
The bottom-line though is that 4 is one highly satisfying and at times addictive encounter, David Sinclair and co’s finest moment yet and a definite recommendation for blues rock ‘n’ roll fans with an appetite for others like Paul Weller, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and especially on the guitar and blues side, Seasick Steve.
4 is available now via IRL @ http://irl.bigcartel.com/product/david-sinclair-four-4 and on most online stores.
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