Review: Kris Barras Band – Light It Up
Provogue/Mascot Label Group (September 3th 2019)
Reviewer: Peter Scallan
The Kris Barras Band first came to my attention with the single ‘Hail Mary‘ which was a slow burner for me. On the basis of this and hearing a few other songs I acquired ‘The Divine and Dirty‘ album. This proved to be a heady mix blues and rock with a commercial bias, sounding like Bon Jovi with gonads and a decent vocal of course. Fast forward and here we have the latest opus from KBB entitled ‘Light It Up‘ which continues in the same vein and to great effect.
‘What You Get‘ opens the album and is bluesy, ballsy and melodic. Stradling the best of Davy Knowles and Bon Jovi it is a stomping anthem which sets the tone for ‘what you get’ from the rest of the album. ‘Broke Teeth‘ opens with a great bottleneck riff and continues in the same vein with some great female backing vocals and could be off Slippery When Blue, sorry Wet! The chorus sounds like it is paying homage to Kris’s other love of cage fighting, at which he is also meant to be pretty mean at. Next up is ‘Vegas Son‘ which I believe is a single from the album. Sounding a little like classic Pat Travers Band, the song stretches the band into more blues rock territory with a slight nod to a little reggae, ergo the Travers reference. The title track is next up entitled ‘Ignite (Light It Up)‘ and this rocks along with a killer chorus over a stonking staccato guitar riff. ‘6AM‘ takes the band back into a more laid back blues groove with a driving bass line through the chorus and of course another killer chorus. There is some nice Hammond on the song too. The slide into laid back blues continues with ‘Rain‘ which has a Nashville country feel for me. The chorus has a stripped feel and builds nicely into yet another hook-laden chorus.
‘Counterfeit People‘ takes us back to a guitar driven blues mid-paced rocker hand looking at the title I wondered if it were an observation on the music business! Great guitar riff, great vocals and catchy chorus again. The feel varies a little again with ‘Let The River Run Through You‘ walking a fine line between blues and country rock. None the less it is another stonking song reminiscent in some ways of Chris Whitley’s first album. The rock returns with ‘Bullet‘ which swaggers along through the chorus on a rhythmic bass line and of course, yeah that’s right – another killer chorus! There is also a great break down into the guitar solo. ‘Wound Up‘ opens up with a real twelve-bar rock’n’roll feel with bottleneck over the top. It then breaks down into a great chop for the verse and builds well into another pristine chorus.
As they say in the business, you can never get enough cowbell and ‘What A Way To Go‘ just proves that. This is a raucous blues rocker that doesn’t disappoint. More cowbell anybody? ‘Not Fading‘ continues in the blues rock vein opening with a great double beat with further tinges of Pat Travers. It just rocks along to the ultimate track on the album called ‘Pride is Forever‘. This has almost Bad Co feel to it with the guitar riff and the use of the slide reminiscent of Mick Ralphs with the inevitable killer chorus. Simple, but very effective and the perfect example of sometimes less is more.
Well what can I say about this album? For me it really is quite a majestic statement of intent with superb songs, playing, vocals and production. I haven’t yet seen Kris Barras Band live but I am so looking forward to seeing them when they hit Glasgow. Yeah, this is bluesy, but there is just so much more to this album in terms of melody – I am sure if he could still do it then Jon Bon Jovi would be delighted to put this out. It’s just got it all for me and a must have! Go get it – NOW!