Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Jonny Cola & The A Grades




Album Review: 'Spitfire'

Having previously reviewed the double A-Side ‘comeback’ single released earlier this year I was intrigued to hear this latest album from Jonny Cola and the A-Grades album when it landed on my desk.  The debut album ‘In Debt’ was released way back in 2010 which is a long time in rock n’ roll, and new album ‘Spitfire’ was lucky to see light of day at all, the band having been on-hold for a year whilst frontman Jonny Cola recovered from a life-saving operation.  Having successfully avoided being killed by death, JC&TAG set about making up for lost time, writing and recording this album as well as successfully tapping up their fan-base to part-fund it.

What does it sound like? Well there are some loud and proud vintage Bowie and Mott The Hoople melodic and camp-ish rock n’ roll, some low-down sleazy Rolling Stones guitar riffing, a hint of Hanoi Rocks and London Marquee Club circa 1980s, a pinch of post-2000 new wave inspired garage-indie that wouldn’t sound out of place next to The Libertines, and a few some epic big production moments for good measure. In other words: Catchy hooks, stomping glitter rock, punchy powerpop, and tight but loose rock n’ roll guitar are all on display, making for a sound that is somehow trashy, arty, retro and modern all at the same time. 

Beginning with the sound of an aeroplane (presumably a Spitfire) things then kick straight into top gear with ‘In the Woods’ followed swiftly by the singles ‘Tropical Beach’ and ‘Straight to Video’. The latter works better in the context of the whole album than it did as the lead-off single, in my humble opinion: An epic, dynamic and well produced centre piece.   Pleasingly the quality control is maintained throughout all 10 tracks and ends on a high with the melancholy but uplifting Bowie-ish piano led closer ‘Out of the Woods’ (see what they did there!?).

Available as a digital download, CD or good old fashioned vinyl album, but check it out for yourself as the whole thing can be heard as a stream via: http://jonnycolaandtheagrades.bandcamp.com/album/spitfire-album

- Reviewed by Alex Eruptor

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