The sun has finally made an appearance, Download Festival is just around the corner and just like clockwork, Black Stone Cherry have a new album out. BSC are fast becoming the Download Festival house band and they have put in some legendary performances to acres of fans over the years up there in Donington.
We’ve been through this cycle with BSC a few times before… release the album in the Spring and we’ll see you in Summer. It works well, and BSC tunes don’t generally need lots of listens before they go down well in the live arena. This ain’t the new ‘Perfect Circle album, after all.
Warm, bluesy and feel good tunes are what we expect from BSC and that’s exactly what we get from ‘Family Tree’.
The opening eruption of guitars on ‘Bad Habit’ is an unashamed Hendrix reference and will almost definitely be the new opener for the live show. A typical gravelly chorus line is rudely interrupted by an off-kilter guitar solo that puts the song a little off balance for a minute but also prevents it from being too predictable.
The guitars are big on this album. The opening riffs of ‘Burnin’ sound surprisingly heavy and there are some killer solos. It’s not all straight forward hard rock however. The overload of funk on ‘Get Me Over You’ and the swagger of ‘James Brown’ draw in those rock’n’roll blues inspirations from way back in black and white days.
A real gem in the mix, not only for the Richie Sambora-style vocoder in the intro is ‘Southern Fried Friday Night’ with a huge chorus line and it is probably the most feel good tune on the album. The explosion of guitars again gets us wielding our air-guitar and melting our faces appropriately.
As always there a few slower numbers which break up the album nicely with ‘My Last Breath’ being the best of the ballads. But, here at Cackblabbath, we like the noisy mothers’ best of all and the grungy guitars of the title track finish this album off with a thump.
‘Family Tree’ is a welcome addition to the Black Stone Cherry catalogue. There are not many surprises here as the boys unleash another collection ‘Skynyrd soaked bluesy rock anthems but we don’t really want the band to change, do we? So that’s nothing but a good thing.
There are plenty of fresh songs here that’ll get us raising our glasses of cider in the air come June in the (hopefully) hot and dusty Download arena. Bring it on!