The Blue Poets, a four piece blues rock ensemble from Hamburg, Germany, have put their hearts on show in their self-titled debut, The Blue Poets.
The group is fronted by Gordon Grey, an Australian vocalist with a pleasing gravelly drawl to his harmonies. For their maiden voyage into record releases, The Blue Poets have chosen a love theme with undertones of bitterness and heartbreak, all in their soon-to-be signature style of a modern-day blues powerhouse.
‘Goodbye’ is the opening track, which begins with a hearty laugh and a soft bluesy riff before switching to more of a gritty rock flavour. Grey is imploring a woman to disappear from his life because he is through crying over her, while remaining hopeful that she will “change some day.”
It is evident in the first ten minutes The Blue Poets are partial to extensive guitar solos, considering there are three in the first track.
Grey’s vocal skills are put to good use in ‘Too High,’ which opens with a cappella “woah woahs” and “dah dah dahs,” and a head-nodding, soft funk riff that suddenly changes to heady rock. This one is about a rich girl with all the trappings and trimmings of the high life, who is oblivious to the face that money cannot buy love.
The vocals are very Kings Of Leon, and their skill with massive guitar scales is stunning, not to mention their penchant for incorporating different genres into the mix, which even includes elements of funk and jazz at some points.
Speaking of which, enter ‘Sad, Sad, Sad.’ You would expect to hear this catchy bebop number in a 1950s-themed diner. Despite the title, it is one of the more up tempo tracks with frenetic riffs and fierce determination that makes you want to grab your partner and take them on a spin around the dance floor.
‘Alien Angel’ is laden with digital delay effects and has a low key, thoughtful tone. The binaural guitars are a nice touch, too – that is, rapidly switching sounds between both ears concurrently. The mood of the song conjures imagery of Grey performing on a darkened stage to a non-existent audience, reflecting on the love of his life. The extensive solos continue thick and fast, along with the heartfelt, troubled lyrics.
An unexpected bonus on The Blue Poets is the cover of world-renowned psychedelic rock tune, Cream’s ‘Sunshine Of Your Love.’ It begins with a heavy bassy riff at first, and takes on a smouldering, seductive version of the classic Summer rock track. They have honoured the song but at the same time, made it their own. Of course, it would not be The Blue Poets without yet another lengthy guitar solo.
Though they have an undeniable ability to blend classic blues with modern rock, the album becomes drab and starts to flatline in the middle. They attempt an abrupt change of pace from the angsty love tunes when they sing of “blood on the streets” in the anti-terrorism, anti-religion number ‘For A God.’ But with guitar solos happening more often than blinking, the novelty is fast wearing off.
Thankfully, ‘Won’t You Suffer’ is a standout that breathes energy back into the floundering life force of The Blue Poets. It contains one of the catchier riffs you will find, and even the signature solo is not half bad. Instrumentally, it is a much-welcomed highlight.
The album continues onto more bop-along beats with cute terms of endearment like “sweet darling,” and even the appearance of a crashing drumming display which had previously hidden in the background, drowned out by the ever-present guitar solos.
‘With Your Eyes’ sees the closing of the first chapter for The Blue Poets, and is aptly about discovering clarity and liberation: “I already found my freedom, the freedom within.” The track also has the longest guitar solo yet, at just under two minutes long.
There is no denying they have a skill for riffs, and there are several guitar hooks along the way, but The Blue Poets is, quite frankly, dull in many spots. Overall, a fair effort for a debut by a band with loads of nervous energy to burn, and who appears to love making music. And an insane amount of solos.