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Hangarvain: Best Ride Horse

If the band name, Hangarvain (what's that then?) and album title, Best Ride Horse (eh?), don't give you a hint that this four-piece don't necessarily count English as their first language, then it's a fair bet that a collection of clunky lyrics may seal that deal for you. Which is a shame, for take away nuggets such as "I've never ever got the pride of a white boy, I'm tellin' you what I start to dreaming, What kind of buddy wanna lie to the churchman, I'm sorry too 'cause I sin and steal it" and Sergio Toledo Mosca might just be able to get away with his ever so slightly accented vocals. For in every other way Hangarvain are as US of A as it gets (when you're from Italy, anyway), evoking a Southern US take on the Seattle sound and doing so convincingly, even if the above lyrics are from a song this band dare to call "Free Bird" (and no, obviously, it isn't that "Freebird").

"Through The Space And Time" rips into action, a gritty riff sitting somewhere between Pearl Jam and Black Stone Cherry (although not quite as good as either), Alessandro Liccardo setting his band's stall out in full, rich guitar style. "Get On" is maybe what Lynyrd Skynyrd would have sounded like if they'd grown up in the 90s Grunge scene, while "Turning Back On My Way" could easily, right down to Mosca's Eddie Vedder-isms, be an early Pearl Jam slowie. Things do get a little complicated as Best Ride Horse canters along, "Father Shoes" a twang of Country that neither sits as Southern, or singer-songwriter; "Last Time" suddenly bursting into view as though Soundgarden abducted Adrian Smith from Iron Maiden and made him play an unrelated (if fun) song-intro which really doesn't belong anywhere on this album.

As with all Red Cat Records releases, the running time sits comfortably between 30 and 45 minutes and it has to be said that in that relatively brief (in modern terms) setting, Hangarvain do have enough about them to hold the interest. Best Ride Horse is a promising, if derivative effort, however if this bunch of Italians are to continue down this path, then I'd suggest that to make a mark they really need to ask someone with a stronger grasp of the language they sing in, to help them get their message across - listen to the spoken sections to the otherwise excellent "A Life For Rock'N'Roll" if you need more proof. Other than that there's much to like here and much to suggest Hangarvain could be in it for the long haul.

Track Listing
1. Through The Space And Time
2. Get On
3. Turning Back On My Way
4. Free Bird
5. Knock Back Doors
6. Way To Salvation
7. Hesitation
8. Father Shoes
9. Last Time
10. A Life For Rock'N'Roll

Added: October 3rd 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Red Cat Records
Hits: 1991
Language: english

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