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"AN EXCEPTIONAL NEW 12 TRACK ALBUM FROM THE MASTERS OF BRITISH HARD ROCK BLUES"
From Chesterfield 'The Idle Hands' are a cut above the average blues rock band and have proved this on the new album 'Feeding The Machine'. Fronting the band on vocals, harmonica and percussion is the dynamic and flamboyant Phil Allen. Dave Robinson runs the action on 'super Strat' guitar, while the power houses of the rhythm section are Jamie Burns on bass and backing vocals and Paul Heydon on drums. All the tracks on the album are self penned.
The intro' to the album gives you a raw and rockin' blues number, 'Fever', introducing the talents of Dave on guitar and Phil on blues harp. Following this, 'The Devil And The Deep Blue' is an 'in the groove' blues rock track with some great rhythms. Moving towards rock n' roll, 'Get Up And Dance' adds a different flavour. 'Read Your Mind' however, is a classic rock number with great vocals from Phil, with a bit of funky stuff towards the end which all adds to the interest.
The next track is one of my favourites. An acoustic blues 'The Song Goes On', has some class slide and guitar playing leaning towards country blues. I have to say the following track 'Sad Again', an instrumental, just blew me away. A slow meaningful track with beautiful guitar work from Dave and played with such passion.
Now we get into a real up tempo funky number, 'Might Be Foolin' ... variety is the spice! Moving on to another of my favourite tracks 'Before The Setting Sun', this is blues with an edge with great vocals from Phil. It is a slow number with bass power and drum driven and excellent raw guitar from Dave.
'Weatherman' is a classic slow blues rock number, a great take and played with passion. On the next rocky track, 'Your Time Will Come' has some brilliant slide guitar with definite influences of a certain Mr Page. Some great harp input from Phil.
The penultimate track on this excellent album, 'Live For The Moment' is a classic slow blues telling a story, well sung by Phil. To complete the album, another great acoustic take 'Second Time Around', which is an up tempo, rhythmic, country blues with super slide guitar, the track has a 'dusting' of Dylan, love it!
Blues meets classic rock is a description I could give to 'The Idle Hands'. They are an incredibly hard working band and are a 'must see' live, to get the whole picture. There are definite influences in their music from Rory Gallaher to Jimmy Page and Robert Plant et al, but they have their very own distinctive stamp which makes them unique. Excellent!
Rosy Greer - Lancashire Blues Archive
In the time honoured tradition when all creative musicians must search for the holy grail of pure artistic inspiration which creates and reinforces their own identity a seminal moment occurs, like Robert Johnson standing at the crossroads The Idle Hands have now been overwhelmed by their own magic to produce an album of song potions for the heart, body and soul, the results are electrifying.
“Feeding The Machine” is much more than just another blues/rock album as it has depth and variety with every song containing something different for the listener to latch onto. From the blues/funk groove of “Read Your Mind” to the stylistic mississippi porch dobro sounds of “Your Song Goes On” it also has the added bonus of some very momentous tracks just waiting to be discovered that must be given pride of place in this album. “Sad Again” is one of those such tracks which is a sentimental guitar blues instrumental reminiscent of Gary Moore and Snowy White which avoids some of the pitfalls of a clichéd power surge solo, with the recording defying overkill relying on just pure emotion which pulls your heart strings in tune with the song.
Guitarist Dave Robinson’s solo passages are cutting visceral staccato latitudes indicative of a restless soul intent of pouring out the emotional frustrations of a lifetime into every note he frets questing for the lost chord whilst still extolling the theme of the song, which is something which sets him apart from many of his contemporaries, a truly extraordinary musician. “Before The Setting Of The Sun” has very strong Zeppelin influences as does “Your Time Will Come” displaying the hallmark Page/Plant style vocal and guitar interplay whilst “Weatherman” is a brooding slow burner which is all pervasive and consuming as the band’s talisman and vocalist Phil Allen delivers the song storyline with true pathos as only he can.
Vocalists and front men of his calibre are very thin on the ground these days but in truth Mr Allen is the ‘Weatherman’ for the band, an inspired and almost omnipotent interconnecting force that controls the elements as both the storm bringer or the rainbow maker. It has to be said the magnificent bass tones of Jamie Burns and drummer Paul Heydon are a rhythm section to dream about and provide the ultimate skin tight backdrop for the guitar and vocals to weave their magic upon in this delightful musical tapestry.
One of the albums finest songs is “Live For The Moment” which has to be manna from heaven to my ears, it has every magical organic ingredient borne out of reflective and deep seated nostalgic human emotion which makes it a totally addictive musical intoxicant. As a slow soulful but dynamic song very much in the style of Otis Redding it reaches climatic overload on the chorus lines and in the songs finale. Surreally sensitive guitar sounds permeate throughout this song as it reaches out into your soul and makes you want to listen, always a sign of exceptionally good music.
I often talk of essential music and this album certainly falls into that category with so many quality tracks to eulogise about, no matter what your musical persuasion may happen to be the songwriting and performances reign supreme here in these recordings I for one will always worship and pay homage with unashamed idolatry to musical creativity as long as musicians and songwriters of this ilk are allowed to walk this planet and perform to their audience. They say the devil makes work for Idle Hands, not a chance in hell here, as these guys are too busy “Feeding The Machine”, it is without doubt this bands best album release to date!
The Electric set is an energetic, dynamic and passionately engaging professional live performance. Drawn mostly from an extensive catalogue of original songs, The Idle Hands carry audiences comfortably through an emotional experience of the blues from hard edged rockers to deeply soulful ballads. Superb musicianship and a powerful raw sound all brought together in a charismatic show tinged with Zepellinesque style.
The Acoustic set is an intimate 'sat down in your front room' style show. Professional, dynamic and audience engaging, The Idle Hands perform a charming blend of original songs and classic blues covers in their own inimitable style. Seriously unreserved passion and high quality musicianship in a relaxed light-hearted package!
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