An endorsement from Jimmy Page no longer guarantees top notch musicianship (he's fond of Kasabian) but this time he might well be onto something. Don't expect blunderbuss riffage and vocal gymnastics a la the 'Zep but if textured nuggets of countrified yet serrated guitar pop are your thing, meet Blackbud – and in particular vocalist/guitarist Joe Taylor.
His plaintive croon kicks off Heartbeat to a backdrop of relaxed acoustics but soon switches tone for a menacing bridge from the Muse school of songwriting. "You know much more than I do", he claims, picking away at an ominous melody and you know exactly what comes next: not just a big chorus, a huge one awash with grinding feedback. An old trick it may be but quiet/loud done this well still hits all the right notes.
Steal Away confirms that although Taylor has a definite way with a melody, the FM ballad approach doesn't play to Blackbud's strengths. Lyrics like "I need my baby / My baby needs me" accompanied by a Travis-esque chorus lose them points by default, and it takes a noisy breakdown halfway through to restore parity.
Corner Of The World rounds things off, and although it's probably the weakest of the three tracks it still offers enough to suggest a bright future lies ahead for this West Country three-piece. As Taylor toys with the idea of breaking into falsetto before another enormous chorus, you get the feeling that if Blackbud can tighten up their lyrics and write a few more songs like Heartbeat, they might just bloom into something special.
8Rob Webb's Score