Known Associates: Penny Love (Warcat)

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Known Associates: Made of Blue
Known Associates: Penny Love (Warcat)

Auckland singer/writer/guitarist Warren Cate of Known Associates has made some fine and deliberately unpolished rock albums under his own name in the past but here, with a team of equals who hunkered down for weekly sessions last year to toughen themselves up and work out material, he excels himself.

Cate always possessed a slightly dangerous edge in his vocals but here he sounds angry and desperate and is singing like his life depended on it (Mercy with its "eye for an eye" sentiment, Wishbone City). With guitarist Grant Wills adding electrifying, tight and powerhouse solos and an adrenalin-fueled rhythm section (Mike Franklin-Browne on drums, longtime bassist Andrew Buckton back again), this one flies out of the speakers like the missing link between the best material off the Stones' It's Only Rock'n'Roll (What It's All About) and the pub rock energy of Dr Feelgood's Stupidity (Made of Blue).

They barely pause for a breath -- there's a real slew into Seventies rock on Tell Me It's Alright -- and it isn't until five songs in (the dreamy Show Me where Cate still keeps that sneering edge) that the pace slows.

Almost out of earshot on Waning Moon you can catch a whiff of Hendrix's Spanish Castle Magic, Dark Sword throbs with metal menace (a little bit cliched but convincingly impassioned) and Hand of God finds them at their most evocative, Doors-like and trippy.

Not much here breaks the 3.45 minute mark so nothing outstays its welcome and you don't doubt this band live would be a hazard to sensitive souls . . . and Cate's restrained fury would put on notice those half his age.

Warren Cate answered the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire here.

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Simon Hema - Jun 15, 2011

Heard some of this album in a cafe in Glendowie. Thought "Mercy" had a Stevie Ray vibe. Will look out for it

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