Those Damn Crows – Murder and the Motive LP/CD (Earache)

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A timely re-released new edition of the debut album by one of the hardest working bands in the UK today. Earache have repackaged the album with a new track listing, colour cover art, lyric insert and a splendid orange vinyl version to boot. Reprising the original CD release of this album by kicking things off with live opener and crowd pleaser, the defiant ‘I Don’t Give A Damn’; a full guns blazing track that showcases singer Shane Greenhall’s exceptionally strong vocal, and the bands penchant for a good hook and a catchy riff. ‘Blink of an Eye’ is up next – a soaring anthemic track – think Foo Fighters and dare I say it Kings of Leon? Those comparisons creep up again on ‘Someone Someday’ with a beautifully understated bass line by Kurt Cobain lookalike Lloyd Wood propelling the song, allowing the guitar licks to soar, and pushing the song into Stadium Rock territory.

I remember hearing a demo version of ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Ain’t Dead’ way back when, and thinking that if there was one track that was going to break TDC it was this one… well I’ll admit I was wrong, and while this is still a strong track – ideally suited to those audience participation sing-alongs, it has to be said the band have developed way past this track now, as evidenced by the superlative ‘Behind These Walls’ – a ballsy, swaggering beast of a track that sees Da Crows proving more than a match for those big name American Southern Rock bands (Black Stone, Cherry, Alter Bridge et al), with some damn fine guitar melodies courtesy of Dave Winchurch and Shiner Thomas – who throws out catchy riffs like Bob Monkhouse throws out one liners. Greenhall’s vocals on this track are off the scale, giving Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder more than a run for his money. Props to producer Mike Exeter for perfectly capturing the band at their absolute best (best so far that is…) on “… Walls’ and Side B opener ‘Say It’. It’s back to tracks from the original CD to close proceedings, ‘Seven Days’ is one of the bands heavier tracks, and this time it’s founder member & drummer Ronnie Huxford’s time to shine, with some lovely little off beats and subtle cymbal work countering the overall heaviness of the track. ‘The Fighter’ and ‘Breakaway’ continue the pacey gallop to the end, with Greenhall’s vocals once again elevating the tracks to something extraordinary. Wrapping things up ‘Fear of the Broken’ is another menacing riff-fest and a tremendous sign off. The Deep South (of Wales) has a good record of punching above its weight in terms of great rock bands and Those Damn Crows are continuing that tradition, and then some. Ian Pickens

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