This is a review of "Word of Mouth" recorded by The Blueskins. The review was written by Andy Buchan in 2004.
Formed only two years ago, this debut album from the Wakefield four piece combines rock and roll passion with soulful, blues tinged dynamism. Having turned down lucrative sponsorship from Rizla to help advertise their Blue Skins, the band are clearly as substantial and genuine as their beautifully orchestrated pop gems.
Album opener, Bad Days, plunges straight into the rock/blues hybrid, with the affecting harmonies dovetailing effectively with the growling guitars. The wonderfully rasping vocals are distinctive and emotive, capturing Jim Morrison at his tortured howl best as well as, no less kindly, Rod Stewart at his Small Faces pomp.
Elsewhere, the album draws from influences as diverse as Blind Willy Johnson, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley to The Beatles, Joy Division and early and unarguably prime era Oasis. Segueing from classic 3-minute romp alongs, replete with handclaps and some of the tightest drumming this side of Animal, to Beach Boys harmonies colliding with Morphine’s bass assaults, the album sounds at once fresh and instantly recognisable.
There are several stand out tracks, notably Girl with its Vines-esque finale likely to be the next single. Love Boat, with its swirling and filtered guitar pyrotechnics displays the subtle yet distinctive touches of the producer, Richard Formby of Spaceman 3 fame. The song also sees the band take a note from label mates and current NME darlings, Franz Ferdinand, with the jaw dropping change in speed halfway through creating an amphetamine fuelled stomp that The Kings of Leon would sell their cousin for.
However, album closer, Magpie Blues really represents the dynamic force of The Blueskins. This live favourite displays remarkable technical dexterity for such a newly formed band yet combines it with the soulful voice and backing of a real life blues affected band, displaying the visceral passion which makes them stand out from other guitar orientated bands. Let the word of mouth spread.