Stone Thieves “Church of the Medicine Man” (EP) (Independent, 2020)

A four-track E.P. for our delectation. Or maybe a three-track E.P. – the fourth track being a rearranged, piano-based reprise of the guitar-driven first track. Let’s not get bogged down in semantics though. These (fifty per cent bearded) Londoners make a sound that’s overtly influenced by Petty, Young, Springsteen; the usual triumvirate of blue-collar suspects. All of whom are/were brilliant in their own way: Stone Thieves bear no shame in being so guided.

So; what do our plucky quartet then do with these influences? Where do they take them to? Disappointingly, Stone Thieves don’t really take things anywhere. It’s a little too predictable, lyrically too pre-used and hackneyed. Opening track ‘Wheels’ has a rousing chorus, but it feels like something of a ‘Tom Petty studio out-take’. ‘Medicine Man’ has an interesting ‘stoppy-starty’ introduction, but the interest soon wanes, and the stoppy-starty motif becomes gimmicky in its repetition. Again, the lyrics are somewhat tired, and the song veers into Bon Jovi territory towards the end.

Let The Good Times Roll’ is a slow ballad with an uninspiring title and, again, equally uninspiring lyrics. It meanders along in a perfectly ordinary fashion, despite the emotion that’s trying to be portrayed. The piano only reprise of ‘Wheels’ is probably the best of the tracks; it’s a little different and is something of a refreshing change. These guys probably make a pleasing noise as a live act, but the songs don’t stand up too tall when recorded and sent out into the world.

Uninspiring blue collar Americana
5/10

Author: Mark Nenadic

Quite likes music. Doesn't really like people. From The North. Exiled in The Midlands due to radical views on whippets/flat caps. Beards and plaid shirts belong on Willie Nelson. Everybody else should smarten up a bit ..

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