Stevie R. Pearce formed his first band 'Young Lust' in 2005 and has since formed 'Black Bullets', and then reformed 'Young Lust'. In 2015 Stevie worked with Kory Clarke (Warrior Soul) and then from 2016 with Jizzy Pearl as lead guitarist, which is where I first discovered him. Late last year Stevie released the self-titled album 'Stevie R. Pearce and the Hooligans'. The album has gained much more critical acclaim and popularity than expected and is to be re-released with Cargo Records in March this year. Stevie has already established himself as a highly regarded guitar player, and now he is hoping to become a respected singer and songwriter in his own right.
The first track, 'Bad Day', features heavy guitars and gruff vocals, which combine with an awesome drum and bass masterclass, to create a growling beast. This is an anthemic audience-pleaser with an incredibly catchy chorus and killer riffs. The party has begun! 'Goin' Down' is hard-arsed punk meets sleaze, with a grumbling bass, pounding drums and gritty vocal, and with an epic guitar solo; this has that classic stadium quality sound. Pearce's playing is imaginative and intelligent, and this is a fantastic guitar-led track. On top of that, his vocals are textured and powerful. The beat to 'Nobody Loves You' invades my mind, body and soul and all the different parts of my body want to move in time with the flow. This is another punk-sleaze track, with flashes of all-consuming guitar brilliance and a beautiful solo. That beat though. I can feel it in my veins. I can see it when I close my eyes.
'You' is a little more laid back and less in your face with melodic vocals and top class instrumentals, building to a brutal, vicious vocal holler in the chorus. The track takes me on a journey and I don’t want to get off the ride. I’m amazed by how gentle Pearce’s vocal can be, and then flick in an instant to a snarl. 'Same Old Story' starts with a delicious acoustic southern rock intro and develops quickly into an unexpected but awesome hard rock attack. A seemingly simple chord sequence perfectly fits with the pulsing drum beat and powerful vocal, culminating in a stellar track which grabs you by the balls; "You won't even see me coming, you won’t even remember my name". The whole of the track is greater than the sum of its parts and the experience is somewhat breathtaking and very addictive. The drums - just wow! They pound us out to the close with explosive force. Best so far, for me.
'Set My Soul On Fire' is an upbeat romp with mainstream appeal. It's quite light-hearted yet it still reaches into my chest with the rhythm section, and the guitars drive it through to the home straight. 'Can't Turn Your Back On Blood' is another southern-inspired delicacy with a screaming vocal Axl Rose would be proud of, tasty riffs and a finger-flying guitar solo.
‘Til Something Better Comes Along' mixes it up again, a power ballad with attitude and style which would fill an arena with lighters. This is without a doubt one of my favourites on the album. The vocals are sublime; in contrast to the distinctive shrieking in the previous song, these are beautifully and simply delivered with emotion and soul. The musical arrangement is stunning, the echoey effects adding an ethereal haunting quality which compliment the vocal. This track shows versatility to the band and allows them to show their softer side. Spectacular. Repeat.
'Mama's Door' starts with a striking vocal and acoustic guitar. This is a slow-burner bluesy track with soulful vocals, exhibiting depth, consistency and authenticity. The guitar solo would make Hendrix himself a little jealous! I've got my funk on now. Hell yeah. The fearless cover of Johnny Cash's 'Folsom Prison Blues' rips the head off the original and feeds it to itself. This is a ballsy move which creates a punky track with a gnarly, sexy vocal and killer guitars. They own this track!
'Hooligan' continues the thrashing, bruising beat and assassination by hook; this is one of the heaviest on the album and a work of instrumental genius. 'Doin' Okay', the closing track, once again exposes the sheer brilliance Pearce can elicit from a guitar. The track is an acoustic (10-carat marquee-cut) diamond with smooth sultry vocals which I just don’t want to end.
All Killer, no filler. Simple. This is a contender for album of the year, surely. It's a strong debut with a clever mix of styles, filthy rich in complexity, skill and attitude, and thus confirming the rumours of greatness. Don’t even think about not buying this. It would be a sin.
Standout tracks: Same Old Story, 'Til Something Better Comes Along, Mama's Door, Hooligan.
Stevie R. Pearce - Vocals and Guitars
Dave Sanders - Drums
Lewis Clarke - Rhythm Guitar
Richard Jones - Bass
Nobody Loves You
Same Old Story
Set My Soul On Fire
Can’t Turn Your Back On Blood
‘Til Something Better Comes Along
Folsom Prison Blues
The lyric video for the song ‘Bad Day‘ can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/h0T3pBtXwis
UK live dates in March 2018:
8th: Arches, Coventry
9th: Reading, Facebar
10th: Newcastle, Trillians
22nd: Bannermans, Edinburgh
23rd: Blackpool, Waterloo
24th: The Parish, Huddersfield
Label: Cargo Records
Genre: Hard Rock / Garage Blues
Release Date: March 23, 2018