Gonzo Reviews
Ant Standring

The Cherry Bluestorms (TCB) long-anticipated third album Whirligig! opens with a cover of the Beatles’ ‘She Said She Said’. It’s a gracious, slick Jefferson Airplane-resounding track that’s peppered with salutary moments of Filter’s ‘Take a Picture’ single. Smashing opener to whet the sonic appetite!

TCB’s romanticism turns subtly subversive, as ‘Roy Wood’ follows, boasting a nod to the Rolling Stones’ ‘Satisfaction’. Thankfully, any concern induced is quashed soon after, when we’re repeatedly told and convinced that “Roy Wood wouldn’t mind!”, ahead of a warm, instrumental outro.

The undeniable groove of ‘Heel to Toe’ ensues, with an engaging, endearing guitar echoing The Stone Roses’ ‘Love Spreads’. Its prominence shines amidst a somewhat perfunctory but great-sounding composition… that’s a positive for fellow TCB aficionados and no, not many bands can say that!

Opening acoustically, ‘Sleep’ sees lead vocal shift from Deborah to Glen, pleasingly producing the closest thing to a John Squire/Echo & the Bunnymen synthesis this side of the Stone Roses’ long, drawn-out demise. Sadly, “Nothing ever lasts forever”, even the seductive ebb & flow found herein.

Getting nearer to their trademark sixties sound, TCB gift us something of a sonic daydream. Seducing us with everything from lyrical imagery that interjects gentle intervals and softly soaring vocals, ‘Rays of the Sun’ effortlessly enthrals and entices.

‘Seven League Boots’ again invokes the Rolling Stones (particularly the chorus of ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’, the percussion of ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ and to a small extent ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’), to great effect. Contrary to its suggestive title, it’s a more sentimental, patiently delivered track with tender vocals that seem to address us personally; check out this video…

TCBs tap into their collective main vein with ‘Purple Heart Magic’, a track that typifies their majesty, their ear-sorcery and yes, their oh-so habit-forming music that so many folk have missed out on… maybe 2018 will be their year and, by default, our year too. All hail TCB!!!

The optimism of ‘Brighter Days’ draws us in from the outset, so much so that we forgive and forget the occasional fleeting flashes of Cast’s ‘Finetime’. It’s a toe-tapping, nodding extravaganza that disguises its heavyweight simplicity with a fine balance of lead/backing vocals & piles of production prowess.

The intermittently vulnerable lead vocal of ‘Out’, both draws and distracts as it competes and contrasts with the composition’s punchier counterparts. The soft, seductive storytelling is perhaps the most alluring element, but that’s a big statement when dealing with a song of such strength and budding stature.

‘Caroline’, like ‘Sleep’, lets those beloved trademark psychedelic nuances shine, as Glen’s prominent Dylanesque drawl steals the spotlight and easily dilutes any ‘San Francisco’/The Carpenters undercurrent. It’s often said that best things come in small packages, right?

With its accessible, image-riddled lyrics and all-round soothing accompaniment, it’s only a matter of time before penultimate track ‘Each Mortal Day’ has got you running for the repeat button! We somehow empathise with each newly-elicited emotion, as Deb’s delicate vocal demands our focus.

Whirligig’s longest track is saved until last, suggesting that ‘Be Here Now’ will be more of the operatic epic we’ve historically fallen for, but it’s not! Amidst a more familiar TCB construct, the guitar solo shines brighter than the already dazzling track; prepare to feel the sun beating down on your eardrums folks!!!

Whirligig! seems more deliberate and mature when compared to commonplace moments that pepper TCB’s delightfully playful, psychedelic back catalogue. Maybe it’s the Hammond organ resurrecting sorely-missed Rob Collins; maybe the myriad of Manc reference points presented… maybe not!

Because they hold such enticement and quality, each track instills a subtle sense of loss upon closing; to some extent they feel like album samplers (despite their average duration of 3.6 minutes). Maybe I’m greedy, but if history has taught me anything, it’s that I can’t get enough of that TCB sound.


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