Fans of The Temperance Movement, take off those black armbands, give ‘A Deeper Cut’ a rest for a bit, and instead, turn your attention to Blackwater Conspiracy. The Norn Iron contingent return with album number two: ‘Two Tails & The Dirty Truth of Love & Revolution’, and calm is restored for connoisseurs of rootsy, guitar-driven rock & roll with one eye on the golden era of the ‘70’s.
The album announces its arrival with an instant drum beat that signifies that the party is about to commence with the uptempo rocker: ‘Goodbye To Yesterday’. Fantastic riffs (as well as a nod to Rory Gallagher during the mid-section), authentic scene-setting keyboards, and a simple chorus that does what all good choruses should do – stay with the listener for some time. All these components combine to kick up some dust on a fiery opener.
‘All Wired Wrong’ quickly follows on, and it’s easy to see why Johnnie Walker aired the track on his BBC Radio Two show. It’s simple in its execution, a well-written, well-played slice of Southern rock & roll with a killer guitar solo from Brian Mallon that should have those who bemoan “they don’t make them like that anymore” reaching for the air-guitar. And while they have it plugged in, ‘Soul Revolutionaries’ should have them turning it up to eleven. A fantastic slice of commercial Brian-Fallon-does-Springsteen rock, driven forward by the enthused playing of Kevin Brennan on the keyboards. Brennan also scores top marks with the atmospheric sound coaxed out of what sounds like a Hammond organ on the towering ‘Tattooed & Blonde’; just one of the many stand-out moments on the album.
‘Take It On The Chin’ is another stand-out moment, featuring a killer slide guitar tone throughout, and a top notch vocal performance from Phil Conalane. Hints of The Black Crowes, but let’s be honest here, that’s always a good thing. As you are expecting the track to fade out, it takes an unexpected turn and seeps into Gospel-like territory with a life-affirming message. Just as you are reaching to hit “replay”, ‘The Healing (You & I)’ comes in with a simple, laid-back Neil Young-esque guitar tone that will have you floating away in a blissful state. The track takes on wings and grows into this towering thing of beauty, which perhaps if Blackwater Conspiracy hailed from Nashville rather than Co.Tyrone, then you would be reading a four-page spread on them in the mainstream rock music press.
But it’s Northern Ireland that Blackwater Conspiracy call home, and on ‘Bird In A Coalmine’ they slip some traditional instruments in to add a Celtic touch to a ballad-of-sorts. Ballad-like in pacing and feel, but without the schmaltz normally associated with a ballad. The traditional instruments (in the shape of violins) hang around for ‘She Gets Me High’, and an album that was already starting to lurk around the top twenty albums of 2020, gatecrashed the top ten, and chances are it will still be there come the end of the year.
A rather special album indeed.
Pick up ‘Two Tails & The Dirty Truth of Love & Revolution’ here.
Review – Dave