Review: Ole English – ‘Ole English’

The name of the band is Ole English. Ole as in old, not as in a Spanish exclamation of encouragement at a bullfight. Or when your team are taking the piss out of another team by passing the ball backwards and forwards, winding them up no end, as the crowd chant with each pass. Ole English are not actually English either. Nope, they hail from Lafayette, Louisiana, and sound nothing like what you might expect from a Southern band. California yeah, Louisiana nope.

Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats or Graveyard with a different accent. Ole English play a heady mix of stoner/desert rock with 70’s inspired Iommi sized riffs. And what sweet (leaf) riffs they are. Opening track ‘Paladin’ grooves like the Devil gettin’ jiggy wit it on a Saturday night. It’s a full-on minute of wall-to-wall riffs and melodic guitars (with a Thin Lizzy-like swagger) before the vocals come in, all the while you’re thinking…”please don’t let the vocals be shit”. The big build up doesn’t fizzle out, as thankfully the vocals don’t let the side down. The guitar work is exhilarating, the mixture of fuzz and melodies will have you howling at the moon.

The pace slows down a notch or two on ‘Old Man’, and the vocals from Nick Harvey might spark a comparison or two with Layne Staley. Not so much the same singing style, but the same tortured way of delivering the lyrics. The twin guitar work between Harvey and fellow vocalist/guitarist Lynden Segura is at times spell-binding. The gradual fade-out is a rather special few minutes with heaps of heavy guitar fireworks. ‘Heel’ quickly follows on with the spine of the band, drummer Austin Wood and bassist June “Magnolia” Francis taking all the plaudits. This continues on the six minute, mysterious, meandering ‘Visions of Ghana’. A doom-cloud lingers overhead for most of the six minutes, imagine Perry Farrell with a sixty-a-day habit fronting a doom band. You’re almost there. The bass work from Francis will rattle the fillings in your mouth loose, but it’s the sudden change of tone in the guitars, around the six minute mark, that is the most effective. Closing track ‘Holy Roller’ begins with a 70’s vintage rock feel, before it takes a turn down a different path and turns mid-song into a heavy, sludge filled skull-rattling piece of music. The only think left to do is check the walls are still standing and press “repeat”, play this one especially loud as it takes on extra dimensions when cranked up.

This impressive debut album doesn’t hang around, hell it doesn’t even hit the 25 minute mark. But what it lacks in length it more than makes up for in substance. Ole English are now streaming the album for a limited time, free, check it out here.

Connect with Ole English on facebook here.

Review – Dave

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