05 November 2021 (released)
02 October 2021
Suzy Starlite & Simon Campbell form the heart of the Starlite Campbell band along with drummer Steve Gibson and Jonny Henderson on (many) keyboards. This is only their second album – the first was ‘Blueberry Pie’ in Feb 2017 – but their sound is classic rocking Blues with great melodies and no little sense of ‘Pop’.
This was recorded very much on the move as they relocated from Isle of Man to Germany, Spain and finally Portugal but it really feels solid, coherent and very much that of a band working together.
Unusually in this day and age, all the songs have meaning and purpose. Not just more blathering on about love/sex etc, the lyrics are worth listening to. Mind, the music is too, and as someone who is focused mainly on the music, this is really satisfying.
The album trails styles from the early sixties to the aughties but always that superb rhythm section of Suzy’s bass and Steve’s drums holding the centre and propelling the music forward.
It all opens with ‘Distant Land’, a blistering rocker with a great beat and some stunning guitar work. The harmonies in the break are wistful and hammer the message about the refugee crisis subtly. ‘Gaslight’ has a wonderful Faces-style groove to it with great slide from Simon and a terrific honky-tonk Wurlitzer piano from Gabriele Del Vecchio.
One of my favourite tracks on the album is the title track. Reaching back to the sixties and early seventies in its sound with electric 12 string from Simon and Suzy playing the mighty Mellotron and Phiicorder, insistent drumbeat and tambourine putting the sound back in the halcyon days of TOTP and Sounds Of The Seventies. All that and somehow it hits the spot as very much ‘today’ as well.
If you like a real rocker, head to ‘Said So’, a great number although the subject matter is rather darker than the song’s sound – the horrors of addiction. The freak-out fuzzed guitar solo is stunning. They can play subtly as well as they do on ‘’Take Time To Grow Old’, a wistful look at losing people old before their time. Lovely harmonies and a beautiful Hammond line underpinning it all, emphasising the emotive side.
The most unexpected number is 'Ride On Cowboy' sung by Suzy and with a shuffling, almost discoid funk to it, great fun.
10 excellent tracks and an album you can dive into or play through. Top stuff.