Monday, February 28, 2011

BLIND ATLAS "4th Street"

In past months these ‘Mancunian Americana’ rock ‘n’ rollers have added another impressive set of support scalps to their trophy cabinet: Blitzen Trapper, The Bees and Duke Garwood. They’ve also been finding time to fit in late night and weekend studio sessions with Christian Madden of The Earlies to work on their debut album.

And whilst we’re awaiting that album release here is the second single from Blind Atlas released digitally today on their own Fallen Swine label and available via iTunes. Now where the first single, last November’s ‘Take A While’, was pared down and wistful, lead track '4th Street' is a different proposition altogether. Three and a half minutes of churning guitar riffs and Hammond organ give it a 70s dirty blues feel, Canned Heat by way of Fat Possum Records. It’s both righteous and sleazy in just the right proportions.

B-side 'For Carol' starts off a quieter affair – referencing the early 70s again, laid back mid-tempo country rock with rich, rolling steel guitar and mournful pleading vocals. But the song’s plaintive lyrical plea for more time eventually yields to a much heftier brand of country-rock: strong, deep harmonies, jagged rhythms and chunky guitar soloing. From mournful reminiscence to full-blooded stomp in just four songs is an impressive range for a band releasing its first recordings. Less confident newcomers would seek to emphasise how consistent they were – but who wants samey?

Blind Atlas - For Carol

When I talked with Blind Atlas around the release of that first single they revealed the different musical influences each band member had, a list that covered several decades and included Led Zeppelin, Beefheart, Calexico, Fairport Convention and Ride amongst others. Such plural influences aside, in these two singles Blind Atlas ably demonstrate how adept and broad their song-writing is. Another classy release that just whets the appetite for the debut album later this year.

Blind Atlas support Buffalo Tom at Sound Control on 11 March, play Fuel in Withington on 1 April and then play The Local at The Kings Head in London on 15 April.

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