‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ - The Vagaband - the difference that makes the difference(February 11, 2018)
Another slice of British-built, ‘home-grown’ Americana comes ripping from The Vagaband, following up on ‘Medicine For The Soul’ comes their latest release, ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’. Once again, the mix is awash with tinges of jazz, blues and rock - once again, it’s an album that takes Americana on new journeys – and once again, it’s the difference that makes the difference. The high-calibre songwriting remains, as does the distinctive groove they generate, the instrumental mix is spot on with balanced brass, steel and guitar breaks, with rich vocals and warm harmonies, however this time the production is tighter, fuller and the overall impact more impressive - fans of this idiosyncratic band are going to love it.
The album, which holds a slightly dark edge, opens with arguably my favourite, the title track ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ (more Bradbury than Shakespeare) then follows the faintly whimsical ‘There’ll Only Be One Elvis’. Beyond there, the high points and there are many, include the punchy ‘Not My Day To Die’, the stark narrative of ‘Black Eyed Sally’, the laid back ‘Through The Back Doors’ and the sublimely lazy sarcasm of ‘Spiritual Man’
The Vagaband are: José McGill (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, ukulele) Gregory Cook (piano, organ, acoustic guitar, harmonies) Patrick Arbuthnot (pedal steel guitar) Joe Wright (fiddle, mandolin, harmonies) Tristan Roche (bass, harmonies) Daniel Reynolds (drums) Noel Dashwood ( dobro, harmonica, harmonies) Ali Houiellebecq (saxophone, clarinet, flute) Hugh Stanners (trumpet, squeezebox).
Review: Tom Franks