Stubb – “Stubb” (Superhot Records 2012, SR001CD)

“Stubb” the album serves as both the recorded debut for the three-piece band of that name, and the first release by Superhot Records. Hailing from the UK, Stubb the band consist of Jack Dickinson on guitar and vocals, Pete Holland on bass and backing vocals, and Chris West on drums. The power-trio format and heavy blues rock approach bring to mind images of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream (although without the quirkiness) and Taste, and all three bands are reflected in the music. No drum machines, synthesizers, lofty concepts or philosophising here (at least not until the acoustic Crosses You Bear, a two minute interlude that sits smack in the middle of the album), this band is all about fuzzy riffs, and speedy guitar solos, with generous amounts of wah-wah.

The intro and solos on album opener Road in particular are the sounds of late-period Hendrix rising from the grave, while Scale The Mountain – best track on the album – features a rolling groove that is hard to resist, with a barrage of surreal guitar effects to close. Dickinson’s vocals are perhaps not quite as strong as his guitar playing, but serve the purpose for the heavy rocking music. The album was recorded live in a basement with minimal overdubbing, but such is the power of the bass playing and drumming that the sound is very full and thick even without a rhythm guitar, as on Flame, the third track in. By track number four, Soul Mover, there is a danger of formula and repetition setting in, which the aforementioned two-minute Crosses You Bear manages to break up, although it also highlights the shortcomings of Jack Dickinson’s vocals. Hard Hearted Woman rolls out another head-shaking heavy rock groove in the tradition of Hendrix’s Foxy Lady, but with evil on her mind, before collapsing into sparse and echoing guitar solo over a slinky bassline. Crying River is about as close to a ballad as Stubb ever gets, while Galloping Horses manages to achieve semi-epic status across its seven minutes of fretboard mangling guitar solo.

At 35 minutes, Stubb the album is probably about the right duration, and will surely appeal to fans of ’70’s classic rock revivalists such as Colour Haze and Radio Moscow, as well as the original generation of psychedelic blues rock. Footage of the band performing such tracks as Hard Hearted Woman can be found on youtube, as can an amusing tongue-in-cheek clip of the band spinning the test pressing of Road.

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Reviewed by Pat Albertson

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