Melbourne’s answer to Tom Petty fires his first shots.
Swimming out the swamps of Melbourne, Australia!? This is as good a piece of Americana this reviewer has heard in a while. Jeb Cardwell has a reek of authenticity that his nationality may belie and there is much to enjoy here.
Opening with the stately, gothic ‘Self Doubt’, a banjo-driven hymnal featuring some keening slide guitar and some mournful vocals the scene is set. ‘Blood Moon’ is a tight bluesy stomp without resorting to AM rock pastiche, the vocals are upfront and drawled and the guitars twinned and exquisite. ‘Dreaming of You’ a snappy, Pettyesque number with Cardwell’s vocals again front and centre and a lovely chorus that hits the spot as the band kick into gear.
There is real commercial savvy at play here and the production is top-notch splashing the whole with spots of Hammond and harmonies and hints of JJ Cale in the guitar solo. The Cale reference also works for ‘Early Days’, a mumbled shuffle straight out of his songbook. ‘Can’t Stop Me’ surprises with its Harrison slide and Wilbury’s vibe, and therein lies the secret of this album. It is a collection of great songs that repay revisiting with both surprises and familiarity cropping up in equal measure. There is a talent here that I am sure we are going to hear a lot about as the world opens up again.