13 September 2019 (released)
Watching Kris Barras stock rise over the last couple of years has been fascinating.
From the first time I saw him playing a support set to the Broken Witt Rebels at Proud Camden to headlining tours, appearances with Billy Gibbon et al, support slots with Beth Hart and King King and a massive hit with his last album everything has pointed in just one direction – this guy is a star in the making.
This new album is pretty crucial – does he play safe and go for a repeat of ‘Divine And Dirty’ or progress and actually build on his success? In the end he seems to have developed some and while the sound of the band is similar he is definitely writing more freely and the new album contains some changes from before – I think all for the better.
The voice is still the same of course, that impassioned rasp ain’t gonna change, but his writing is more melodic and his guitar playing has really developed. The way he plays against the keyboards on some tracks gives his music, especially on the title track, an extra dimension.
The songs feel more personal than before, especially ‘Rain’ which, rather than just being the obligatory slow number, actually works as a strong love song and could well be the anthemic number that defines him in the future.
He sounds happiest on a number such as ‘Broken Teeth’ where the guitar lets rip and all the elements of the band drive the song forward at pace – Josiah Manning’s keyboards pealing out and filling the space behind the riff brilliantly.
The album closer ‘Pride Is Forever’ comes from his fighting days where it was part of his mantra “Pain is temporary, pride is forever” – a burning slow Blues with echoes of Free and a subtle touch.
An excellent album, a real step forward for the band – great to see them growing.