An album packed full of edgy, blues-inspired rock.
‘Pagan Blues’ is the seventh album released by highly acclaimed Italian artist Elli de Mon and it follows 2 years on from her very well-received previous release ‘Countin’ The Blues’. Before listening to ‘Pagan Blues’ it’s well worth understanding Elli de Mon’s background. Her last album was released as a companion to her book ‘Countin’ The Blues: Indomitable Women’ which honours the long and deep tradition of female blues singers, so you can immediately see where her inspiration comes from.
This brings us to ‘Pagan Blues’, an album which will push the casual listener outside of their comfort zone. Comprising eight original songs and a cover of Robert Petway’s ‘Catfish Blues’, ‘Pagan Blues’ it doesn’t make for “easy” listening and on first acquaintance it wouldn’t seem to reside even under a broad interpretation of what constitutes Americana, but it doesn’t take long to realise that the album is underpinned by a deep love of the blues and given that de Mon has shared stages with the likes of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Reverend Beatman, Cedric Burnside and James Leg that’s hardly surprising
Opening with ‘The Fall’, you immediately get a preview of what’s to come as its clangy guitar lines propel the track along but surprisingly don’t erupt as you might expect but rather pulls you in with its intricate rhythms. The fun continues with ‘I Can See You’ as it drives along with what can only be described as blues-tinged punk all held together by de Mon’s captivating voice. It’s a great track and the album progresses in a similarly challenging style with the title track along with the seemingly Indian-inspired ‘Sirens’ call’ featuring some intriguing sitar playing woven into the mix to produce a wall of sound that is as unexpected as it is mesmeric. The album ends with the very dark ‘Troubled’, a track propelled along with de Mon’s, frankly frightening, vocals giving the track a deep air of menace.
It’s something of a cliche but this is an album that reveals more layers every time you listen to it. It may seem to be on the edge of the Americana genre but this is a high-quality piece of work which deserves very high praise.