Former Tiny Monroe and The Snakes guitar slinger Richard Davies takes centre stage for the first time as principal songwriter and singer with the Dissidents, a band who include Mega City Four/The Snakes drummer Chris Cannon and Last Great Dreamers bassist Tim Emery.

As well as playing guitar for indie band Tiny Monroe in the 90’s, and recording 3 albums with alt country collective The Snakes, Richard Davies has also worked with the likes of Glen Matlock and Peter Perritt as a hired gun, which sure ain’t a bad place to be.

An album that has been a long time coming, ‘Human Traffic’ was recorded last year and deals in retrospective songs of life, love and human nature.

 

If you like your rock ‘n’ roll from the shady side of town, where the nights are so long and starry-eyed girls have that certain shake appeal, then ‘Human Traffic’ will be right up your ally.

The title track gets things off to a power pop start. This is high energy rock ‘n’ roll, with guitars slung low and lyrics from the heart. A stripped-back, ramshackle sound can’t hide Davies’ knack for a catchy melody and ‘Human Traffic’ is first of several tunes to channel Ian Hunter in his prime.

The material is mostly originals from the heart and soul of the main man, with a few choice covers thrown in for good measure. ‘Lay Me Low’ is a traditional Shaker hymn re-worked with ‘Dissident’ style to sound like an outtake from Michael Monroe’s first solo offering. ‘Heartbeat Smile’ is a cover of an Alejandro Escovedo tune, and in the hands of The Dissidents, it’s a rollicking, Stonesy ride with solid beats, Keef style riffs and Mick-like hollerin’. Richard Davies also recalls his past with a new take on the Tiny Monroe song ‘Under The Skin’.

Of the originals on offer, it is hard to pick a favourite, as they are all pretty strong to be fair. Latest single ‘21st Century Man’ is power pop perfection to the max. With hooks you’ll swear you’ve heard before, the chorus is as catchy as the verses are cool. Think Elvis Costello meets The Replacements here, tinny guitars and cowbell give that added retro 80’s alternative feel. It’s a theme that reappears throughout the album. A tinkling of the ivories and spaghetti western guitar twang give ‘Way Of The Wild’ a certain anthemic feel, like The Alarm meets The Psychedelic Furs. A memorable, driving chorus only adds to the appeal for me. And is that Rick Richards jamming with Tom Petty on the ‘(Long Road) To Your Heart’? No, it’s only Richard Davies & The Dissidents jamming it out and putting their heart and soul into their rock ‘n’ roll music. What a tune! It has classic stamped all over it, as guitars riff loosely over a ramshackle beat that builds to a killer chorus.

 

In cool hat, dark shades and brandishing a guitar, Richard Davies emerges from the shadows with an accomplished debut album, choc-a-bloc with rootsy rock ‘n’ roll to soothe the soul.

Why it’s taken him so long to get an album out is anyone’s guess. But hopefully, this is the start of something long and productive, as Richard Davies & The Dissidents have released an album that harks back to simpler times, but still has the tunes and the staying power to match any of the other great rock records released so far this year.

 

Facebook

Author: Ben Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Their first album in almost 30 years, since releasing 1991’s World Outside and splitting up soon after. Reuniting early on in the Millenium, existing as a touring entity only, I was genuinely surprised to hear that the band had signed an album deal as I always assumed there was no appetite to record new material. With the bands last commercial peak being 1987s Midnight to Midnight they were seemingly destined to remain a nostalgia act spending a majority of their time on the road in the U.S.
 
A strong opener in “The Boy Who Invented Rock & Roll”, a great layer of brooding synth showing growth in their song output and even having a bit of a Dark Wave element. “Don’t Believe” is the established first single released back in January. It really sits in the foundations of classic non-pop Furs, which makes recent single “You’ll Be Mine” even more of a disappointment. It’s a limp number at best.
“Wrong Train” kicks off like a New Order football jingle though quickly detours into a bitter-sweet, epic confessional. Speaking of pills, car crashes and turmoil amid filthy guitar and sax duels. An absolute stand out track. The only low here being when it finally ends, though “This’ll Never Be Like Love” drags you into a somewhat beautiful pit of despair. The track really does hark back to the sound of their last two (criminally overlooked) albums.
“Ash Wednesday” has the same level of brood, but at over 5 minutes it never really goes anywhere and it’s a bit much to take. It’s the same case for “Come All Ye Faithful”, trying to be direct and edgy but coming across very much like filler material. “No-One” thankfully grabs us by the scruff of the neck and puts us back on course, giving us Richards Butler’s dark cacophony of lamenting croons.
“Tiny Hands” is very American rock radio commerciality straight out of the gates. It’s not terribly unpleasant, just very questionable production. The production here is provided by former member Richard Fortus (G’N’R fame). Not slighting Fortus’s role here, though I am disappointed the band didn’t go with someone who potentially could of put them to work. Someone with a similar background such as Flood or Alan Moulder?
“Hide The Medicine”, a very dreamy number that builds and builds but ends very abruptly almost as if it had never even begun? “Turn Your Back On Me” has really grown on me after several listens, revealing itself as a subtle but epic number. Album finisher “Stars” rolls in. Another dreamy composition, building in parts, taking us to a collage of sounds, distorted guitars and synths melding together only to disappear bluntly. A surprising track to place at the end, not really giving much as a send off.
Overall the album is a bit of a mixed bag. Not a classic but certainly not disappointing. My lingering thoughts only that I hope they try their hand at another release sooner rather than later. Definitely seek out this new album but be prepared to take the rough with the smooth.
Buy ‘Made Of Rain’ Here
Author: Dan Kasm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ncz9b2dIHkU&feature=emb_logo