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Ten Years After: A Sting in the Tale

Usually January of every year is time to play catch up on a few things we missed out on the year prior, and 2018 is proving to be no exception. Here we have the latest from legendary British blues rock act Ten Years After, who have continued on without the late Alvin Lee, enlisting guitarist/vocalist Marcus Bonfanti to fill the very big shoes of Lee (as well as Joe Gooch, who played with the band for most of the early 2000s) alongside founding members Ric Lee (drums), Chick Churchill (keyboards), with well travelled bassist Colin Hodgkinson (Alexis Corner, Spencer Davis Group, Cozy Powell, Whitesnake, etc.) also recently joining the band replacing Leo Lyons. A Sting in the Tale is their brand new album of all new original material, and first since 2008's Evolution.

Basically, what you get here is very solid modern day blues rock, a dozen classy songs that feature a healthy dose of tasty guitar licks, strong vocals, and plenty of groove. Bonfanti is a very capable player and vocalist, but don't expect the extended guitar soloing of the early Ten Years After repertoire when Alvin Lee basically became a legend. Marcus instead drops in effective riffs and brief blues solos when needed, making this more of a song based album, but the tunes are quite memorable and melodic, so they do not suffer from a lack of guitar firepower. "Land of the Vandals" and "Iron Horse" kick off the album and provide a potent 1-2 punch, complete with hot licks and catchy hooks. Churchill's swirling Hammond organ plays off Bonfanti's emotional vocals & melodic guitar lines perfectly on "Retired Hurt", while "Suranne Suranne" is an upbeat blues rocker with more of those effective organ & guitar riffs. Two other crisp rockers are "Last Night of the Bottle" and "Guitar Hero", the latter a great vehicle for Bonfanti to unleash some of his six string mastery.

If there's one small drawback to A Sting in the Tale, it's the inclusion of a few too many acoustic based blues tunes, which lack the fire of the rest of the album. "Up in Smoke", "Two Lost Souls", and "Diamond Girl" in particular are decent, but their mellow nature just tends to kill any momentum the songs before them carried. Otherwise though, Ten Years After have put together a pretty enjoyable comeback album here, and while the days of A Space in Time, Watt, and Crickelwood Green are clearly long, long gone, this is still more than serviceable blues rock that any fan can enjoy.

Track Listing

  1. Land Of The Vandals
  2. Iron Horse
  3. Miss Constable
  4. Up In Smoke
  5. Retired Hurt
  6. Suranne Suranne
  7. Stoned Phone
  8. Two Lost Souls
  9. Diamond Girl
  10. Last Night Of The Bottle
  11. Guitar Hero
  12. Silverspoon Lady

Added: January 6th 2018
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2156
Language: english

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