Review: Upper Lip – Deep Within
Pride & Joy (May 21st 2021)
Reviewer: Paul Saripo
Upper Lip, an impressive five piece from the Island of Gozo are set to release their debut album ‘Deep Within’ on the 21st of May 2021.
It’s a banger, these impressive Gozitans have produced an album capable of endorphin stimuli throughout its riff laden tracks. This album is something special and original.
‘Keep Going’, warms up the amp and sets the scene with its hard rock vibe with reaching vocals of Chris Portelli that’s solid throughout the album.
Moving onto ‘Marble Arch’ with the strong bass of Marcel Paul Grima and well-timed percussion delivered by Silvio Cini. Its already apparent these guys support and play well together. This naturally allows the fantastic guitar solos to scream out and still be in proportion.
Joseph Azzopardi on lead strings with Paul Cini on rhythm guitars both deliver well throughout, with some impressive sounds, such as found in ‘Skinny Jeans’.
For me, this is a standout track of epic proportions, it rips up a rhythmic grove from the very start with its classy intro right to the last steal strung vibration.
When this delight first powered though my speakers I was hooked & locked in. Paul Cini on rhythm guitars pulls an amazing riff line and this track is no exception.
‘Eyes On Fire’, full of passion and energy. Whilst a relatively short song on this album, it delivers a hook that lasts.
Moving on to, ‘What Makes You Smile’, this track was a nice surprise, nestled snuggly midway on this album, a true gem and whilst distinctive to ‘Skinny Jeans’, this too is another standout track making it another one of my favourites. It is assuring to see and listen to a debut album with some eclectic sounds and possibilities.
This slower tempo song of ‘What Makes You Smile’ is about positive reflection, looking out beyond the crush of pain and depression. Poignant lyrics skilfully paired with beautifully written melodies. Joseph Azzopardi‘s writing ability and his lead guitar work is fresh and original built from a solid base of hard rock.
By contrast ‘Deep Within’, is a short number just over a minute of instrumental work that builds up to become the preface of ‘Mirrors & Masks’.
This has an energetic start, reminiscent of that punk rock sound, perhaps reminding me of the Dead Kennedys. A great sound delivered well.
‘Hide’, a slightly different approach, demonstrating versatility and skilful musicianship and timing. A complex track yet easy on the ear with good riffs.
‘Be Free’, now my first thoughts to describe this track is a fusion of Geddy Lee, Hawkwind and Zep, but only as a starting point, really, it is a culmination of heritage and talent of Upper Lip combined, delivering something unique and authentic.
‘Desert Song’, classic percussion opener with a unique signature sound so you know to get down the front fast for some air guitar.
‘Never Lose Hope’ last track on the album and what an exit, brilliant composition and delivery of catchy hooks, it’s a winner, foot tapping all the way to the fade out.
The structure of this album is well thought out, well written and needs to get plenty of airtime.
Looking forward to hearing more from these guys.
Overall I feel I have been emersed in the Sunset Strip, gigged at the ‘Whisky’, sat at the ‘Rainbow’ and partied at the ‘Riot House’. I’m blown away.
An absolutely fantastic album, go out and buy it, you will not be disappointed.