ALBUM REVIEWS


The Checks
HUNTING WHALES
FULL TIME HOBBY 1.10.07
@www.vanguard-online.co.uk



This is an amazingly bluesy offering. From the guitar howl of the first track to that same song’s declamatory approach and controlled feedback, this sounds like something from fresh young sixties things, not 20 year old Kiwis. This could come from a Small Faces album but, no, it’s a new product of some mixed up New Zealanders. Second track, Take Me There, won them a home-country award in 2005. There are tiny elements of The Coral, etc, but the sound, like I said is a classic pop/rock blues.

They’ve been together as a band for five years, morphing from 15 year olds in a barbershop quartet into grizzled rockers…. There is a back to basics approach that belies the spot-on arrangements and a lot of practice. The end result is gutsy and chewy, like a wad of spicey tobacco in the mouth. Guitars stretch and howl, needling notes into a hole, while the rhythm section bangs it on in a straight ahead four-four. Great stuff.

Tired From Sleeping is simply huge, one to sing along with at gigs, perhaps after a ten minute guitar solo or something. Terribly Easy is an assured romp through a tight tune, while Honest Man has me worrying about their front man’s strained vocal chords. See Me Peter creeps in on blues legs and wanders in a twilight zone. The title track is hard riffing and stomping, while the set finishes up with Memory Walking – a sad, slow ballad with some fine and melancholy fluid guitar picking.

Succinct and sharp, a slice of lemon on your tongue.

www.myspace.com/thechecks


Ross McGibbon