Virgil & The Accelerators
Army of Three
www.vataband.com / Mystic Records
You can’t get more ‘in your face’ than this lil’ trio – they turn up the amps, dig into the power trio bluesrock vibe and just go for it. Whilst they have a cleaner overall band sound than the celebrated US 60’s band Blue Cheer – whose take on ‘Summertime Blues’ annoyed the contemporary strand of Teddy Boys of the time and excited the rest of us – Virgil and co are out to spark up the neighbourhood and make those guitars sing. The guitar man Virgil does most of the singing and his earnest mid-range vocals suit the group without being anything remarkable ; material is mainly their own. Drummer Gabriel McMahon is brother of Virgil whilst nimble bassist Jack Timms seems to be family by association.
Roadwork has given them a powerful and focussed sound and moreover the ability to use light and shade throughout their live shows and on this new collection ; you will hear Gibson and Fender axes put through their paces though at their London Borderline showcase it was the Strat work that brought the most tender and emotive fingerwork to the fore, a notion Virgil did not dispute, chatting to us after the performance. Very polite and pleasnt guys they seem to be, btw.
Opener ‘Take Me Higher’ suits the show and the album, with a tremelo’d tone guitar and ominous cymbal work bringing in a thoughtful vocal shot through with doubt and then a grinding fuzzy drive kicking in ; ‘Blow To The Head’ rocks up from the off, with blistering single note runs..I think Planet Rock radio would dig this.
‘All Night Long’ is pacey and loud and a good choice of single – ‘dreadful woman’ kinda lyric and all. Virgil ups the edge for this vocal ; ‘Love Aggression’ has an airy start and cool tones with the band revelling in the build of atmosphere .‘Stand Up’ has a proud almost Whitesnake feel as it kicks in and is the winner for me here, with its insistent tempo and clouds of fuzztone.
‘Free’ is an exhilarating piece with background Hammond and a twisting chiming riff not a million miles from the rockier end of the Small Faces’ canon.
At this point, I reckon the band’s playing skills are some way ahead of their compositional originality, however the songs are promising and some are spot on, so what a future these guys must have if they keep a grip on their natural attack. I bet they will