Just because Gorilla Riot come from Manchester, don’t assume they are the next Oasis, or anything to do with the monkey walking Manc bands. These guys play dirty blues rock with a country edge that could come straight from the soundtrack of Sons Of Anarchy. If you like guitars, they have them by the fretload, combining three guitar players who can actually sing in harmony as well. Add to the mix the backing vocal talent of Sarah Jane Pearson, and you have one of the best southern sounding bands to come from the North West that I’ve had the pleasure of listening to, and you can too when the new EP is released on 18th May.
This latest offering from the band is their second EP, ‘American Honey Vol 1’, hopefully this is a hint that there will be more of the same to come! Fronted by singer/guitarist Arjun Bhishma, they present three brand new tunes, and an acoustic version of one of their previous releases.
Opening the album is ‘Bad Son’, a recent ‘Track of the Week’ in Classic Rock Magazine, and already released as a single and video. Arjun’s vocals sound like he’s been gargling with bourbon and buckshot to produce a gritty blues sound, which, supported by the three guitars gives a powerful, intense sound, full of Southern discomfort.
‘Crazy Girl’ is a well written ditty of clever lyrics, and contradictory compliments that slide easily from the tongue of Bhishma, producing what is almost a love song, but with a little spite thrown in, or is it perhaps a country song with a thorn in the side? The barriers between genres are getting harder to see these days, as bands like Gorilla Riot take the best parts of blues, southern and rock, and meld them all together to produce something that appeals to a wider audience. And if you’re attending this year’s Ramblin Man, you can decide for yourself if you see them at the Rising Stage.
Bringing in a steel guitar sound on ‘Down the Road’ emphasises the southern country feeling to this EP, with echoes of classic bands such as The Eagles, and more recently, Blackberry Smoke, and Whiskey Myers.
The final track is an acoustic reworking of their hit song ‘Last Hymn’, a modern day blues classic that sounds almost gospel with it’s religious undertones.
Overall, this EP is a good introduction to the band, and hopefully a sign of more good things to come. Like most emerging bands, they are building up their reputation by playing the many festivals around the country, and if things go well, I’m sure there will be a Vol 2 in the near future.
Down The Road
Gorilla Riot are:
Arjun Bhishma (vocals/guitar)
Liam Henry (guitar/vocals)
James Degnen (bass)
Charly T. (guitar/vocals)
David Thomas (drums)
Sarah Jane Pearson (backing vocals)