‘National Act’, the debut of Chicago-based blues duo Redgrave, is an interesting proposition, happily steering clear of tedious Deep South revisionism and toning garments; more attuned to the rock 'n' roll bombast of Jim Jones Revue.
‘Taunt‘ is glued together by down-trodden repetition, exposing an idiosyncratic underlying slacker quality; Angie Mead’s snarling vocals lifting the song out of the morass. Marrying the sharp bite of PJ Harvey with the soulful immediacy of The Bellrays’ Lisa Kekaula, Mead’s vocals thankfully avoid the overstated faux-sexuality employed by the likes of Alison Mossheart of The Dead Weather and The Kills.
I’m undecided whether ‘Assault Song’ is a forthright demonstration of masculine femininity, feminine masculinity, or simply sexually ambiguous; whichever way you look at it, the entire song is built around a hormone-awakening blues riff á la Beasts of Bourbon. It gets the hips shaking, and head nodding; the grimy riff causing the face to contort into that approving Robert De Niro face and is exactly the kind of song that helped lift me out of the doldrums of ‘Custom A’, which left me somewhat deflated after the raucous PJ Harvey inspired opener, ‘Dick Moves’.
‘National Act’ is definitely an accomplished release, with a distinctive commercial appeal. Whether the band can continue to build on this remains to be seen.
Posted: Mon 16 July 2012