James McCann: Where Was I Then (Torn and Frayed/Border)

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James McCann: Black Brown and Blue
James McCann: Where Was I Then (Torn and Frayed/Border)

McCann was once in the Australian rock band the Drones who get my vote for their great album title: Wait Long By The River & The Bodies Of Your Enemies Will Float By. (Don't we wish?)

The Drones make dark and dramatic bluesy-rock which owes debts to diverse sources from Tom Waits and Neil Young, to fellow Aussie rockers the Triffids and Van Morrison.

Their new album Gala Mill (which I admit I haven't heard) was released in Australia last month and has had An Important Australian Critic calling them "the most important rock band in the country".

Good pedigree then for McCann who here calls on friend and Drones frontman Gareth Liddiard to co-produce this, his solo debut which is a dense, raw, and urban-blues affair -- although the slide guitar and violin sometimes evoke Australia's Big Red Centre in much the same way as Tex Perkins and the Cruel Sea used to do.

It has a desperate and edgy feel, and probably isn't an easy proposition for most people -- but his impassioned style can make for gripping listening.

This is a challenge for young players, but my best guess is that in two or 10 years people will be saying, "Yeah, that James McCann album, man . . . "

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