Sin City “Another Round”

Independent, 2024

Pub rock from Down Under for the 21st Century.

Sin City are new to Americana UK, but not to Australian and New Zealand roots music audiences. They were formed by New Zealanders Nick Armstrong and Jack Beesley who moved to Australia and added Christopher Hockey, Andrew Blackman, and Cameron Hicks. They are essentially a bar band who mix ‘70s rock and roll with country soul and country rock. The band’s name gives a good clue to their music, and if anyone was in any doubt the album cover of ‘Another Round’, their second album, shows the band’s natural home. The album was recorded over four days in an analogue studio in Castlemaine, Victoria, with no computer screen in sight according to the band.

The opening track ‘Gin and Tonic’ sets the tone with its rolling piano and riffing guitars. We could be in Muscle Shoals in the late ‘60s with ‘Am I The One You Love’ with a more country feel to the guitars and more focus on the vocals. We are in real country territory with ‘Big City Streets’ with a country shuffle and dualing country rock guitars providing strong evidence that the Bakersfield sound certainly reached New Zealand. The story song ‘Sidewalk Sale’ features electric piano which reinforces the ‘70s vibe.  We are back in more rocking and R&B territory with ‘I’m Your Man’ with the band seeming to enjoy themselves as they loosen things up. While they don’t quite take it to church, there are gospel touches to ‘Loving Arms’. It sounds as if Sin City have just had another glance at the Jagger and Richard songbook on ‘Don’t Ask Me Twice’. The drums get a workout on ‘The Girl From Monterrey’ as the band adds a flavour of Mexico to their soundscape. The blues influences are to the fore on ‘Mama Please Let Me In’ but these are funky blues that echo the swamps of Louisiana. While still staying true to the ‘70s, the story of a touring love affair, ‘Candy’, hints at the New York Dolls with its adrenaline-fuelled rhythm. The band are certainly in soul territory with ‘She’s Got No Heart’, that’s blue-eyed soul territory. The closing track ‘Same Sad Song’ tones things down as the band show more of their ballad side but they also added a guitar solo straight out of the ‘70s.

There is nothing new on ‘Another Round’ but Sin City have certainly upped their game since their debut album, and it sounds like they had one hell of a time making the album. While there may be nothing new musically, what is on the record is well-played and just crying out to be played live. I honestly don’t know what the band are like as a live attraction, but I suspect that is where you will see the best of them and have a really good night into the bargain. Clearly, the band wear their influences proudly on their sleeves, and they did bring to mind what a fun booze-fuelled night out at The Hope Anchor used to be like back in the ‘70s. Anybody who likes good-time rock and roll and country rock, with a touch of country soul could do worse than spend a little time listening to ‘Another Round’.

6/10
6/10

About Martin Johnson 406 Articles
I've been a music obsessive for more years than I care to admit to. Part of my enjoyment from music comes from discovering new sounds and artists while continuing to explore the roots of American 20th century music that has impacted the whole of world culture.
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