Category Archives: News

Review: Wayward Sons, ‘The Truth Ain’t What It Used To Be’

Anyone who is old enough to have thrived on the nineties rock music scene will remember the Little Angels and also the bouncing vocals (and curls) of frontman Toby Jepson.  If you hadn’t been following Toby’s career, you might be forgiven for thinking that this is his first project in a long time, but you would be sorely mistaken.  Our Toby has been a busy bee over the years, fully utilising his songwriting and production talents for some high profile names, but if the last couple of years with Wayward Sons are anything to go by, clearly his heart lies in performing with a band on a live stage.

Wayward Sons album cover

The Sons’ burst onto the scene in 2017, with the critically acclaimed debut album, ‘Ghosts of Yet To Come’; featuring top class musicians from bands such as Chrome Molly, Gun and of course, Little Angels, the band quickly ascended the rock ranks as a well-respected outfit, winning the accolade of ‘Best New Band’ at the esteemed Planet Rock Awards in 2018.  They toured the ‘Ghosts’ album extensively, with a mixture of headline and support gigs and also several festival appearances, including Winter’s End, Ramblin’ Man and Stonedeaf.  Now, the eagerly awaited second album is finally upon us; released last Friday, ‘The Truth Ain’t What It Used To Be’ is described as, “Hard rock, but mixed with a vitality and energy – both musically and lyrically”.

Comprised of twelve tracks (plus a little hidden treat at the end), this album is not just a random collection of songs.  It is common knowledge that Jepson counts Freddie Mercury’s Queen as perhaps his highest influence, as well as admiring the storytelling mastery of other greats such as Elvis Costello and David Bowie.  It therefore comes as no surprise that the record has been loosely billed as a ‘concept’ album, having a ‘narrative thread’ connecting the twelve tracks.  A description on the band’s Facebook page says it is, “A ‘protest’ record and [Toby] describes the new materials as ‘political’, but not of the sort that seeks to hammer the message home, more of a reflection of his take on where the world and we are.”

WS band pic

So far, so good, but are the songs any good?  When I first listen to an album, I try and wipe my mind of anything that has gone before it, because sometimes second albums can be notoriously disappointing.  I like to take each record as it comes and this … well, it appears that this is a belter.  From the guitar picking introduction and pure spine tingling melody of Toby’s vocals (which are still as good today as they were twenty odd years ago), opener ‘Any Other Way’, is a rousing, fresh romp of a track that really does set the scene for what follows.  Listen carefully for the sweet harmonies on the unrelenting ‘Black As Sin’ and the twinkly piano sound on new single, ‘The Joke’s On You’, which carries a slightly more relaxed tempo and (I might be mistaken) also features a cheeky bit of cowbell.

I liked the meandering tempo on ‘Little White Lies’; it’s also very clear to see those main influences coming into play, particularly with the vocal effects and in the guitar sound and solo.  I also particularly liked the showcasing of Toby’s voice on the frenetic (and ironic) ‘Feel Good Hit’.

Fade Away’ features some rather beautiful piano on the intro (and again, it’s great to hear that mellifluous voice with no musical distraction), before exploding into a Bowie-esque, soaring, glorious wall of sound; again the Queen influence comes into play towards the end of the song.

The title track is a solid, chugging and bouncy anthem; thanks Toby, for that particular ear worm, I couldn’t get it out of my head for hours.  The pace cranks up yet again with next track, ‘Punchline’, which features a wicked, tight solo near the end.

I have many favourite tracks on this album, but ‘Totally Screwed’, the hidden, final track resonated with me on many levels; I liked the pacy, punky feel to the song and also identified with the lyrics; if you know me, you’ll understand why I say that when you listen to it!

The lyrical and musical progression of the band is clearly in evidence on album number two, which is a more confident and settled effort than the debut; whilst the style is still clearly owned by Jepson and the Wayward Sons, there is more artistic expression and exploration of musical style here, than there was on ‘Ghosts’.  There is also a very clear nod to the music of Jepson’s heroes, with a classic sound coming through that is unmistakable in its influence.  The PR blurb puts it beautifully, describing this album as, “Passionate, honest music made by passionate, honest musicians who have come together to create rock music that reflects their heroes from the ‘70s and ‘80’s – modernity through homage, that’s Wayward Sons.”  I couldn’t have put it better myself and I couldn’t agree more.  This album is a valuable addition to any self respecting music fan’s collection and I can’t help thinking that “The Truth Ain’t What It Used To Be” is going to be a runaway success; it’s certainly in my top five albums of the year.

Be sure to catch Wayward Sons on a live stage near you, in support of Black Star Riders; I’ve seen them a few times now and their energetic live performances totally bring their already technicolour songs into even brighter focus.

Track Listing –

  1. Any Other Way
  2. As Black As Sin
  3. Joke’s On You
  4. Little White Lies
  5. Feel Good Hit
  6. Fade Away
  7. Have It Your Own Way
  8. Long Line Of Pretenders
  9. (If Only) God Was Real
  10. The Truth Ain’t What It Used To Be
  11. Punchline
  12. Us Against The World 

VINYL ALERT!!!!   There will be a limited orange vinyl available from the band’s store: http://store.waywardsonsband.com/ and the label’s U.S. and EU stores: http://radi.al/FrontiersMusic

Wayward Sons are –

  • Toby Jepson – Vocals/Guitar
  • Nic Wastell – Bass
  • Phil Martini – Drums
  • Sam Wood – Guitar
  • Dave Kemp – Keyboards

‘The Truth Ain’t What It Used To Be’ (released 11 October 2019 on Frontiers Music s.r.l)

  • Queen of Rock rating – 8.5/10
  • Stand out tracks –Any Other Way’, ‘Black As Sin’, ‘Joke’s On You’, ‘Fade Away’ and  ‘The Truth Ain’t What It Used To Be’

Four part video ‘story’ –

Socials –

 

All text is the property of Vikkie Richmond, a.k.a Queen of Rock.  No part of this review must be reproduced, either in part or in full, without the express and explicit permission to do so.  Failure to observe this will result in a report to the relevant authorities for breach of intellectual property rights.

 

News – Hawxx release new single, ‘You’re No God’

Hawxx logo

London rockers Hawxx have unleashed their new single, ‘You’re No God’.  According to the band on their Facebook page, the song, “… is a song for survivors. Survivors of abuse, survivors of addiction, survivors of illness and more. It’s a song of empowerment for those who have spoken out and those who are still silent. For those who have overcome and those who are still fighting. We want to use ‘You’re No God‘ as a mantra and as a song to celebrate our resilience and our power. And say ‘FUCK YOU’ to anyone or anything that has tried to control us or make us feel small.”  I say ‘Amen’ to that.

Hawxx youre no god

The song itself features an infectious bass line and some cheeky riffs, along with the trademark sweet vocal harmonies that we’ve come to expect – it’s an absolute belter.  The chorus soars with guitars and then the beat slows down, giving a menacing feel with the repeating vocal of the song title, before exploding back into a wall of sound.  The track does end rather abruptly; just like that it’s finished.  You almost feel a little bit cheated because you want to keep listening.

Hawxx don’t do girly and fluffy; what they DO do is attitude by the bucket load, mixed with a healthy dollop of raw talent and some great lyrical ability.  I said before they were ones to watch but now they are steadily ascending up the rock ladder, with their songs being picked up by both BBC Introducing and Planet Rock radio shows.

Hawxx band pic 2

You can catch Hawxx at their upcoming gigs which can be found on their Facebook page – give them a like whilst you’re there.  Rumour has it that an album may not be far away … for news, keep watching my site like a hawk!  See what I did there?  Oh, okay, I’ll get my coat.

(You can find the interview that I did with Hawxx a little while back here)

Listen to ‘You’re No God’ here

 

All text is the property of Vikkie Richmond, a.k.a Queen of Rock.  No part of this review must be reproduced, either in part or in full, without the express and explicit permission to do so.  Failure to observe this will result in a report to the relevant authorities for breach of intellectual property rights.

 

 

 

News: Diamond Head set for autumn European tour

Fans of the NWOBHM genre will be rejoicing at the news that legendary rockers, Diamond Head are due to unleash some heavy metal mayhem with a tour across Europe later this year.

Diamond Head logo

Organised by Agentur – EAM, the tour will cover eight countries and 22 cities across central and southern Europe, during October and November.

Diamond Head band pic

Diamond Head have been in existence for a whopping four decades and have already released seven albums; the band continues to write material and album number eight is already finished and scheduled for release later this year.

Following the release of their self-titled studio album in 2016, the band extensively toured the United States, Canada, UK and Europe, with festival appearances such as Bang Your Head, Bloodstock Open Air, Sweden Rock, Rock Hard, Storm Crusher, Psycho Las Vegas, Leyendas del Rock, Metal Days and Hard Rock Hell.

Back in the day, Diamond Head were a major influence on bands like Metallica and Megadeth, with the former covering four Diamond Head songs, including the classic, ‘Am I Evil?‘, selling around 10,000,000 copies and apparently available on eighteen different Metallica releases.  Over the years Diamond Head have toured with fellow legends AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Metallica, Thin Lizzy and most recently Saxon, back in February of this year.

Diamond Head UK tour poster

The UK leg of the tour will see support from up and coming band, Killit on most of the dates.  Gin Annie will be the main support on the European dates, with Statement and Blinding Sparks also featuring on the first half of the shows, with the remaining gigs featuring Junkyard Drive and Tomorrow Is Lost.

Diamond Head Europe tour poster

For more information on how to get tickets, follow Diamond Head on their social media feeds.

News: Lightning In A Bottle – new music consultation agency launches

lightning in a bittle lofo

It’s been a just over three weeks since the new music consultation agency, Lightning In A Bottle (LIAB) launched.  The project is the brainchild of Wayward Sons and ex-Little Angels front man, Toby Jepson and former Panic Cell bassist and Stampede Press owner, Rob Town.

With over 30 years of combined music industry experience between them, Toby and Rob wanted to create a ‘one-stop shop’ where musicians and bands could obtain advice and guidance about the industry; they offer consultation packages, PR and marketing advice, workshops and music production and songwriting.  In addition, they offer mentoring and education services, giving the benefit of their experience, both on stage and behind the scenes.

LIAB’s ethos is ‘The Art is the Heart’; they believe that everything comes back to great songwriting, especially in these times of saturated social media, where the pressure to get music out to an ever widening audience can result in a lack of purpose and proper planning for artists and bands.

In just under a month, LIAB has been gathering momentum and support from across the industry; several interviews have emerged with high profile rock radio shows, including Great Music Stories with Guy Bellamy on Meridian FM.

LIAB toby and rob

Rob Town and Toby Jepson, founders of Lightning In A Bottle

The vision for LIAB is to be a support platform for musicians, to help inform, encourage and support and empower them, and to bring a real, honest approach to the issues and challenges that many bands and music artists face on a daily basis.

For more information, you can get in touch with Rob and Toby on info@lightninginabottlemusic.com or see the links below:

Website

twitter

Facebook

Instagram

LIAB’s ‘High Voltage’ Spotify playlist

Guy Bellamy’s Great Music Stories interview – July 26 2018