Not to be confused with the Hong Kong rap artist who released his fourth album ‘2019’ at the beginning of 2020, this Little Albert is a project helmed by Albert Piccolo, a musician best known for fronting Italian doom metal act Messa. Albert takes a sidestep from the heaviness for his first recording as “Little Albert”, choosing instead to apply lots of dark and fuzzy guitar to six pieces of dirty blues music.
Released over three years after the band’s formation, Big River’s debut album was a long time coming. Between 2016 and 2019, the band spent what seemed to be an eternity playing small venues on the UK’s south coast. The constant live work made sense, no matter how small a venue; there’s no point in spending money on recording before there’s an audience. Having been guitarist with several grassroots rock acts before Big River were even a twinkle of an idea, that’s something that band founder Damo Fawsett knows only too well. Three years of gigging eventually paid off, though, when in 2019 Big River scored support slots with both John Corabi (ex-The Scream/Union/Motley Crue) and Marco Mendoza (Dead Daisies/Black Star Riders).
Krissy Matthews sounds like a man who’s always had an old soul. His vocals might never have shown the deceptive rasp of Johnny Lang, but musically, his 2015 album ‘Scenes From A Moving Window’ showcased musical influences that far pre-dated his twenty three years on the planet. More impressively, it was his fifth album… By the time of his sixth album’s birth, he still hadn’t reached the grand old age of thirty, but 2019’s ‘Monster In Me’ continues his tradition of delivering a pot pourri of blues, funk and occasional hard rock with all of the confidence of a man who’d been recording for decades.
On their debut EP ‘Blackbird’, The Riven showed a lot of promise. With a fusion of hard rock and blues, the EP presented five songs with an old fashioned spirit and some great vocals, but was rather let down by its recording budget. Sadly, tunes that deserved a huge crunch were all too often left feeling a little muddy.
A lot happened over the next couple of years. The band relocated from London to Sweden, played live shows, gained a recording deal with The Sign Records [home to Wheel In The Sky, Highrider and Grande Royale] and then decamped to Spain to record a full length album.
Founded in 2017, Brass Owl is an Ohio based power trio delivering a hefty dose of blues rock, often with a very southern twang. Their choice of sound often falls somewhere between Black Stone Cherry, something featuring Zakk Wylde and the more tuneful bits of Corrosion of Conformity (circa their John Custer produced millennial masterpiece ‘America’s Volume Dealer). Those influences alone should guarantee them a fan following. However, it’s what a band does with their influences that really counts and it’s probably fair to say that Brass Owl’s debut is a mixed bag.