Those Damn Crows – Point of No Return (Earache Records)

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It’s a been a fair few years since TDC released their first album Murder and the Motive (2016 – re-released by Earache in 2018) but the lads from the South Wales Valleys haven’t been resting on their laurels – playing far and wide across the UK; steadily moving up the bill to reach headline status (including an unprecedented 3 sets across Download 2019 & headline slot on the 2020 Planet Rock Winter’s End festival) and gaining an increasing army of fans in the process. All of which has led to PONR ploughing straight into the National Album Charts at a more than respectable #6; and when it comes to the concept of the “Difficult Second Album” – TDC are having none of it.

Thirteen tracks of perfectly executed modern rock kicking off with the crunching Who Did It with its Black Stone Cherry-esque earworm of a chorus, and a stellar vocal performance from Shane Greenhall, who without doubt is one of the finest singers in the New Wave of Classic Rock. The brooding Sin on Skin demonstrates the bands ability to write slow burners that pull on a range of influences from both Hard Rock and 90s Grunge with Greenhall’s vocals once again reminding me a touch of Eddie Vedder.

If there’s any justice Be You should be hitting the number one single spot, a sublime song which ticks absolutely every box on the “Hit Criterion” list – hooks aplenty, that soft/hard dynamic so enamoured of 90s Alt-Rock bands, an understated, perfectly placed solo and some subtly clever bass work from part-time Kurt Cobain lookalike Lloyd Wood. In a complete change of style, the stunningly beautiful Never Win showcases TDC’s versatility – a piano lead ballad perfectly complemented by some delicately restrained touches from the rest of the Crows. It’s only a slight reprieve though before they smash back in with the Send The Reaper which despite its heaviness features yet another chorus that’s catchier than uh… well…you know what…

There’s a touch of rock royalty UFO/Michael Schenker Group style on Going Down with its gang vocals… you just know this is a live favourite in the making. “Success is just a state of mind” intones Greenhall on Go Get It an inspirational little banger that resonates with 90s Grunge influences (a nod to Alice In Chains to my ears). Wrapping things up is another of the Crows heavier offerings the pacey Devil In My Pocket with an ending so abrupt it leaves you pining for just one more song.

Point Of No Return is an album that exceeds expectations. A guaranteed shoe-in to top all sorts of charts throughout 2020 and another step in cementing Those Damn Crows as not just one of the most exciting Rock bands in the UK, but globally. Ian Pickens

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