|Ironweed - 'Your World Of Tomorrow' (Small Stone Records)|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Tuesday, 26 July 2011 05:30|
If there is one record label on this rock 'n' roll world that truly embodies the Uber Rock spirit then it is Small Stone, the independent yet awesome home of, seemingly, a million cool bands that operates out of Detroit. A badass buzz accompanies every new release from the label that turns up for review, barely a mediocre moment amongst their collective selves, solid records being the worst thing I could say about the releases of the bands on their roster. Sometimes something special happens, Sasquatch and Gozu special, and that has happened again....
Ironweed have followed up their 2008 debut, 'Indian Ladder', with an album that came out of nowhere and has firmly implanted itself on my stereo ever since. The New York band's sophomore album, 'Your World Of Tomorrow', is themed around a near-future totalitarian state where governments control the people by way of electronic devices. It's hardly an original statement for sure, but it is certainly a passionate one, an idea that prickles the consciousness of anyone with a spine, soul and refusal to simply accept their lot in life. The fact that this warning is played out by heavy-duty veteran rock musicians just gets me every time. It's the primitive against the perfect, like perversely taking photographs of dereliction with a state of the art digital camera, like devouring a musty, well read copy of Fahrenheit 451; I do these things, perhaps that is why this album has resonated so with me on more than just a musical level.
That, though, is by no means a dismissal of the hard hitting sounds that make up this nine track album. The rock associated with Small Stone can generally be preceded by the words stoner, space or desert - not this time. Ironweed have fashioned a sound for themselves that harks back to the more metal-tinged outfits that got lumped into the grunge scene, possibly having a little more in common with the few metal bands who jumped on the grunge bandwagon and got away with it without embarrassing themselves. The Alice In Chains and Soundgarden comparisons will, and have, come and, although Ironweed are soundalikes for neither, the aesthetics behind those bands throw up the grouping, the latter especially, for one big reason.
Ironweed vocalist Jeff Andrews has been blessed with an incredible set of pipes. The Chris Cornell/Soundgarden comparison comes solely from this, a fantastic voice wailing out over noisy, dirty, grungy rock. At times Andrews' vocals soar in a fashion that throws up images of Ian Gillan or Glenn Hughes fronting, not classic rock bands, but edgy, dangerous, gutsy metal; the great 'Heavy Crowns', with its fly trap "Your truth is inverted" refrain, for example. The hook of 'The Lucky Ones' is so infectious that when I think of my favourite songs of the year so far I just can't shake this fucker from my memory. The chorus is as infectious and life changing as a zombie bite but, and this is where I get even more interested, the verses are like prime Warrior Soul. Kory Clarke's mob come to mind on several occasions during playback of 'Your World Of Tomorrow', possibly because of the lethal combination of ass-kicking music and political angst.
There are more sedate moments here also; 'And The New Slaves' features subtle verses that remind me of Paul Draper and Mansun. By the time you get to album closer 'A Graceful Death', introduced by heavy, gorgeous bass, you will, if like me, be so impressed that moving for the repeat button is as essential as breathing. Seriously, I have not listened to this album just once since it turned up for review.
I love albums like 'Your World Of Tomorrow', coming from out of nowhere and blowing everything away. That things like this still happen in a music business that grooms anorexic automatons for a life of tabloid misery is both assuring and awesome. This will trouble my album of the year list for one simple reason; it is a stunner.