Sunday, September 25, 2022

Troy Redfern - The Wings Of Salvation

There’s Troy Redfern staring out from the cover of The Wings Of Salvation: saturnine, bearded, beetle-browed, and wearing a kinda cowboy hat.  He looks mean and moody like he’s about to tell Clint Eastwood this dust-ridden fleapit is a one-horse town, and that horse ain't Clint's.  But if that makes you think that this here album might sound like a mariachi band, think again amigo.
On first listen to The Wings Of Salvation you could imagine that Troy Redfern’s middle name is ‘Raunch’, given his hoarse voice and rasping Resonator guitar, and the often sledgehammer-like
Troy Redfern has a bash at new exercise activity 'Guitar Yoga'
Pic by Adam Kennedy
rhythm section of Paul Stewart on drums and Dave Marks on bass.  But as with Redfern’s previous album The Fire Cosmic, there are subtleties discernible beneath the surface thunder.
Among these are a couple of nods to glam rock, in the form of 'Sweet Carolina' and ‘Come On’.  Redfern has referenced Marc Bolan as an influence for ‘. . . Carolina’, and the comparison is reasonable enough – except that this is way more manly than the simpering Bolan could ever manage, and with less inane lyrics into the bargain.  With its strongarm drumming from Stewart, busy bass from Marks and a siren-like slide solo, it's a grower of a song.  Then the following ‘Come On’ mixes up Glitter Band stomp with a bouncing, catchy chorus that’s roughed up by Redfern’s sandpaper vocal.
‘Navajo’ is, as its title suggests, a Wild West injun song.  At first it feels like it could do with more fire water in its veins.  But gradually, with its clippety-clop rhythm, and Redfern’s fiddle-like slithering slide competing with down-home banjo from Marks, it develops an interesting country vibe - like a muscled-up ‘Ghost Riders In The Sky’, and with a similar mythic tone to its lyrics.  ‘Dark Religion’ has a vaguely Celtic feel, with a discordant edge set to waltz-time.  I’m not even really sure I like it, but it is an intriguing little thing, its lyrics featuring a couple of phrases from Shakespeare alongside the album title, which is shared with a song featured in the game Minecraft – as Redfern may or may not know.  (I didn’t, but Google and I are on intimate terms.)  And ‘Heart And Soul’ is a wistful, brooding, stripped back affair with more Western shadings that brings the album to a dwindling close.
“Yes yes yes,” some of you may be thinking.  “This is all very well - but does Troy get heavy?”  Well, yes yes yes, I told you right at the top that he does.  The opening ‘Gasoline’ is a jangling rocker, with slamming drums and chunks of grinding slide, allied to a brief, swirling bridge that segues into his solo, and an airy melody – or as airy as he can manage with his throaty vocal – leading to a quasi-anthemic chorus.  ‘Profane’ is a Motorhead-like thrash, without Lemmy’s bald wit but with a guitar solo of interesting quirkiness.  And best of all there’s the energetic but not full-tilt ‘Down’, with its warped, guttural guitar sound, a raw, punk-ish whine to some of the vocals, and a scraping slide solo.  (My review download actually had ‘Down’ tagged with the cryptic title ‘UKhfu1600064’ - presumably a recording code of some kind - which fits this slightly off-kilter affair rather better than its prosaic proper title.)
Dave Marks (who some readers may know for playing bass with guitar whizz Simon McBride), deserves special mention not just for his bass-spanking, but for his contributions as Redfern’s producer and co-arranger, and supplier of keyboards, banjo, percussion, additional guitars and backing vocals for extra colour.  Sure, there are a couple of tracks that are slight in comparison to the best of ‘em, but The Wings Of Salvation reinforces the sense that Troy Redfern is an artist with a distinctive rocking identity.
The Wings Of Salvation
 is out now on RED7 Records, and can be ordered here.

1 comment:

  1. Love this album. Troy Redfern's slide guitar playing is exceptional.