Thursday, August 5, 2021

Troy Redfern - The Fire Cosmic

“Get yer ya-yas out!”, as the Rolling Stones once demanded in typically dubious fashion.  Not that Troy Redfern’s new album The Fire Cosmic sounds like anything like the Stones.  But it still seems like the right sentiment in response to this tornado of an outing.
Never mind the interstellar squawking and bleeping on the intro to opening track ‘Scorpio’.  The riff that follows is down to earth to the max, like a rock’n’roll juggernaut thundering across the landscape.  And there’s plenty more where that came from.
Take ‘One Way Ticket’ for example, which sounds like Bob Jovi’s ‘Bad Medicine’ has been
Troy Redfern - blues-rock stürm und drang
Pic by Haluk Gurer
dragged to a scrapyard and whacked about with crowbars and sledgehammers by a gang of bad-tempered, musclebound Chechens, while Redfern’s slide guitar squeals painfully in response.  In a good way, I should add.
The primary modus operandi here is that Darby Todd’s drums pound, Dave Marks’ bass delivers combination punches below the belt, guitars grind, and Redfern whacks out a guttural, Alice Cooper-like vocal – albeit without Cooper’s often warped lyrical content.  So ‘Sanctify’ clatters along like an express train mutation of garage rock, while the hard rock slamming of ‘On Fire’ (featuring guest guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal) offers up some post-Eddie Van Halen soloing.
The tunes are decent beneath the stürm und drang though, as on the catchy ‘Waiting For Your Love’ and the slower, more restrained ‘Love And War’, where a pinch of funk is added to the recipe and Redfern adds a more melodic tone to his solo even as he steps on the throttle.
But Redfern isn’t a one-trick pony on the songwriting front.  ‘Saving Grace’ is a subtle ballad built on acoustic strumming with slide embellishments, with some neat layered vocals adding to the atmosphere.  The closing ‘Stone’ is solemn, with weeping slide, before rousing itself to some anthemic stylings and soaring guitar, then falling away at the end with a delicate piano outro from Marks.  And best of all perhaps, ‘Ghosts’ opens with a tripping rhythm and Redfern’s National Resonator slide guitar to the fore, like something from the cowboy trail, before revving up and cruising away as if on the arrow-straight two-lane blacktop of a desert highway.
If you like your blues-rock hard’n’heavy, then The Fire Cosmic is an album that could well fit the bill.  It’s hefty but disciplined, carrying precious little fat, and I approve of that.  There’s one thing missing though, if you ask me.  That lurid Marvel Comics-style cover art should really feature bolts of galactic lightning blasting out of the headstock of Redfern’s guitar.  Don’t mess about Troy, go the whole darned hog!
 
The Fire Cosmic is released on RED7 Records on 6 August, and can be ordered here.

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