Thursday, August 05, 2010

Fusion From Down Under

As some of you may already know, I have a fairly broad taste in rock music. As a result, I admire and respect bands that bring new twists, sounds, and innovations to the ever-expanding genre. With that being said, I was recently invited to check out a group I had previously heard of, but never actually listened to. You may be wondering who this band is. The answer, is none other than the John Butler Trio.

Within the past several months, this Australian three-piece outfit released their 5th studio album entitled April Uprising. The record was 3 years in the making, and is the first one sporting the current lineup of frontman John Butler, bassist Byron Luiters, and percussionist Nicky Bomba. For those new to the band, like myself, the Trio has gone through several changes over the years. Reportedly in a 2004 issue of Rolling Stone, Butler said, "I've learned it's not always about having the same players for 5, 6, or 10 years, it’s having the right chemistry for these songs at this time..." This was a very interesting take- one that I had never considered. Yet it makes perfect sense, as this allows a band to evolve musically, without members venturing into a slew of side projects, leading fans to wonder if the original band is going to reconvene and make new music.

As I said earlier, April Uprising was 3 years in the making, and without a doubt, was definitely worth the wait. According to the band, the album takes some musical influence from dancehall, roots, and rock [I would also add modern folk and alternative]. The end result is a bluesy, folk-alternative sound, that while seemingly familiar on the surface, offers a unique, enjoyable listening experience. As there is a substantial 15 tracks, and this post is pretty long as it is- I'll talk about a couple of songs, and give a wrap-up of the album

The John Butler Trio's latest LP begins with the solid, anthemic 'Revolution', which contains slow tempo versus and a faster upbeat chorus. This culminates in some nice riffing, leading to a fade out. Thus, 'Revolution' creates an effective buildup for the rest of the album. The next song is the highly catchy 'One Way Road'. This was the first single released off the album, and was the second song I heard by the band. 'One Way Road' is hands-down, a true gem. The studio version is really high energy, but the live acoustic performance [not on the album] is even better, as it showcases both Butler's technical skill, and the soul behind the track. I have been given approval to bestow upon you all, said version version of 'One Way Road'. [Just right click, save link as, and enjoy]. Moving along, the Trio continues with 'C'mon Now', another spirited song, before slowing the pace a little with 'I'd Do Anything'. Between 'Ragged Mile' and 'Fool For You', the band has a vast variety of offerings, from tracks that range from the heavier to the lighter fare, keeping listeners enthralled during the duration. If it wasn't already abundantly clear, you, the audience, could easily hear how all the different stylings influenced the band in each track [e.g. folk (Ragged Mile) and alternative (Close To You)]. The John Butler Trio picks up the energy again with two great, mainstream appealing tunes called 'To Look Like You' and the more somber 'Mystery Man' before closing out the LP with the acoustic-folk 'A Star Is Born'.

All in all, April Uprising is a fantastic album, that combines elements of many subgenres to create a refreshingly different sound. The John Butler Trio's talent is also prominently displayed throughout the record, and one cannot help giving them respect and praise. This is clearly a band that has a passion for their music, as evidenced in each track. I encourage you readers to go check out the album, and don't forget to download the acoustic track above. As always...


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