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Maggy Simpson: Lab Rat And Lobster

No, not a misspelling of the pacifier sucking youngster in the unavoidably famous cartoon series, Maggy Simpson is actually the latest musical vehicle for one time Glyder mainman Bat Kinane. For the equally unusually named debut offering from Maggy Simpson, Bat has teamed up with English born, but Irish based songwriter and multi-instrumented musician Shane Counter. The pair have previously teamed up for a 2009 project, as well as collaborating on Bat's so far one and only solo album A Lifetime To Kill.

While Kinane may well be best known for his Irish take on Classic Rock, his solo release actually revealed a far broader set of influences. Lab Rat And Lobster looks set to extend that array of reference points even further. Counter brings in a more progressive edge to proceedings, while never quite suppressing the hard rocking, bluesy feel you might be more likely to expect. The results provide a selection of songs that initially might feel like a surprise, but live with them for a little time and the less angular, or uncompromising mix of Kings X, Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore, Queens Of The Stone Age and The Beatles, begins to take on a real sharp focus. Kinane, who first took the microphone for his aforementioned solo effort, takes all the singing duties here and hearing the manner in which his vocal confidence has grown and matured is really quite impressive; his voice handling the array of styles and attacks in fine, if unflashy style. Guitar and bass duties are shared between the pair, while Counter also adds a sprinkling of keyboards to the mix and ex-Glyder sticksman Davy Ryan ably mans the kit.

"High Time To Die" introduces Maggy Simpson in fine style, a spiralling burst of guitars grating against harsh cymbal work, before settling into a bass led groove that many a modern day Classic Rock act would kill for. Kinane rasps his way through the song adding a real sense of authenticity to a tale of Rock Star days gone south, while the pounding drums and kick-ass guitar solo make a real impact. "Spending Time" then brings things into slightly more Glyder like territory, a bluesy swagger and cleverly arranged harmony vocal oozing a subtle confidence.

Not everything sails so plainly however with "Stoner Blues" beginning to meander a little aimlessly and finding Bat not quite so vocally sure footed, before suddenly discovering a gritty groove at the two-thirds mark, revealing a cool chorus as it does so. The atmosphere building "Coldest Eyes" also suffering from taking too long to truly get going. However balance that against the excellent rock and roll strut of "Sorry" and the beautifully constructed and vocally captivating "Message In A Cosmic Bottle" which somehow marries rock and prog styles and genres into one neat four minute burst. "On Blabbermouth" surges in a darkly dirty style that doesn't miss its mark musically or lyrically (the title says it all), while "Gun Fun" brings sirens, police messages and a gravely voiced attack to a crawling riff. It takes a few listens to makes sense (as much of this album does actually), but is well worth the effort.

Lab Rat And Lobster is an extremely interesting and surprising debut from a duo not frightened to dabble in cross genres pools, while also challenging expectations. Not everything comes off to the same high standards as the album's strong points. However as a launch pad for Maggy Simpson, this album suggests big things may well lie ahead. If you're looking to step slightly outside the norm while still staying within touching distance of Classic Rock, this may well be the album for you.

Track Listing
1. High Time To Die
2. Spending Time
3. Last Days Of Cool
4. Sorry
5. Free Your Mind For You
6. Gun Fun
7. On Blabbermouth
8. Coldest Eyes
9. Stoner Blues
10. Message In A Cosmic Bottle

Added: July 27th 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Maggy Simpson on BlogSpot
Hits: 2748
Language: english

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