The Blackwater Fever’s In Stereo is their second full-length album and if it were a young boy, at a guess, there would be Nirvana posters on his walls, his father’s John Lee Hooker tapes in his cassette deck and some of The Kills’ or BRMC’s CDs lying around the floor of his room. Perhaps lyrics by Tom Waits or Nick Cave would be scrawled into his notebooks, and his father’s whiskey would surely be stashed under his bed. He would tell a decent joke as well as a decent lie, and would be feared and loathed by the fathers of many teenage girls. That said he’d be good fun.

Hicks and Walter will no doubt, again, find themselves compared to the big names in the sexy blues-rock pack like The Black Keys and The White Stripes (which is in itself a credit and a beautiful thing), but it won’t take more than one spin of In Stereo to see that The Blackwater Fever have a big point of difference in their approach, what they do isn’t a homage to a trend or a pursuit of sonic perfection, it’s as bona fide as it gets.

The title track ‘In Stereo’ instrumentally alone commands attention, ‘Love Gone Astray’ is reminiscent in attitude and vocal styling of Kurt Cobain, while the guitars that chime in midway literally resonate with the soul of two coloured girls. ‘Sophia’s Waltz’ is a tragic tale that gives a garage nod to Jeff Buckley’s version ‘Hallelujah’ before taking one last gasp with somber harmonies and pleasantly surprising synth. As if to sympathize with their listener’s drunken arses ‘Hot Resin’ is a timely instrumental with drums that suspend time and dueling guitars that grind like teeth.

There’s a great deal of melancholy content lyrically on In Stereo but not in the Gen Y sense of the word, there will be no jumping off bridges to this record. In Stereo is full of tracks that march and stagger their way into your head and hips (they certainly didn’t neglect a woman’s desire to dance) and it’s addictive. With the album’s reckless attitude I’ve got a strong feeling their live show will be a force to be reckoned with, definitely going onto my ‘things to do’ list.

4 stars

Madeline Stewart AAA Backstage


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