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The Swamp Born Assassins: Smell The Mud

Debuting with the enticing offer to Smell The Mud, The Swamp Born Assassins are a new outfit hailing from the outskirts of Glasgow, Scotland. So what sort of aroma do these self proclaimed killers from the swamp emit? Try a grungey Paw meets early ZZ Top via a sprinkle of Billy Duffy (The Cult) riffing and you won't be too far away. Suddenly the offer doesn't sound so bad!

If there's one thing this lot have in abundance, it's energy and drive (OK, that's two things...); in fact it's a long time since I've been juggernauted in such spectacular style! When this lot want to riff, they RIFF, they want to roll, they ROCK N' ROLL and went they want to leave a lasting mark, they go for the throat. The hub of this powerful swipe comes from the manner in which they mix a prime selection of mighty grooves with slicing swathes of harmonica (or 'moothie' as I'm sure these Scots lads will call it) and powering drums. In ways the ethos is keep it simple, find the groove, lock it into place and hit the target. However once you've been continually smelling the mud for quite some time, the complexities of Hammond organ swooping under a searing guitar solo in "Walk Tall", or the way in which the Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz" 'duh-duh-DUH' riff is reimagined into a bluesy, Alice In Chains like siren-call for the gargantuan "Dead Man Walking", shows there's a lot more going on here than initially meets the eye. The clever use of song intro's doesn't hurt either, the Dukes of Hazzard car-horn that heralds "Gator Hole" into being, the eerie swirl of keyboards and bass that builds through pummelling drums into the title track and stones being crunched under-foot by way of introducing the album opener "Out In The Rain (With The Top Down)" keeping you fully engaged. Although, in truth, it's the huge sing along choruses that make the mightiest impression.

Where this works best is on "Clara Belle Lee", the 'b movie' spoken word opening revealing a track that somehow collides the blues thunder of Joe Bonamassa straight into "No Mean City" (otherwise known as the title music to Taggart) by Maggie Bell, or even "Black Velvet" by Alannah Myles. A spiralling riff slowly drawing you in, splashes of female backing vocals seducing you further, before the song erupts into a guitar vocal trade-off that you simply can't pull yourself away from.

Vocally, Charlie Moffat may never get the prize for the most restrained or precise frontman, the occasional high note proving a challenge, but in this hard hitting, yet still subtle setting, his 'give it all you got' approach works a treat. Add his classy harmonica shouts to the irresistible guitars of David Nimmo and insistent drumming from Steven Craven and the trio all fall in to place perfectly. With the Maudlin Hounds pair of Alf Vesterlev and Tommy Granli adding guitar and bass respectively, as well as their experience, it has to be said the results are of the highest quality. However with the song "Never Ever Never" also able to call on the services of Michael Schenker Group/Sensational Alex Harvey Band bassist Chris Glen and Livin Parazite guitarist Linkan Andersson (who has also worked with Paul Sabu and Tony Mills (Shy/TNT)), the album certainly isn't short on class or poise.

Give it time and Smell The Mud proves to be a potent genre crossing slab of energy and emotion, the sheer power of the songs themselves offset by an unexpected eye for detail and subtlety. Watch your back, The Swamp Born Assassins are on the prowl. You may catch their scent before you see them, but once you hear Smell The Mud, there's no turning back!

Track Listing
1. Out in the Rain (with the top down)
2. Walk Tall
3. Dead Man Walking
4. Land of the Six Gun
5. Crawl
6. Smell The Mud
7. Never Ever Never
8. Clara Belle Lee
9. Gator Hole

Added: November 26th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Swamp Born Assassins online
Hits: 2348
Language: english

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