Thursday, 1 March 2012

Big Sound

Published in the March issue of Rhythms magazine (The Bluesfest Issue).  Excerpt below...

Dallas Frasca

They say you can’t keep a good woman down – they could have been talking about Dallas Frasca when they said it, whoever they are.  For you can’t keep Frasca down – no matter what the world hurls at her, she balls it up and hurls it right back, a guttural blues howl laced with demonic slabs of guitar riffage the likes of which would have Beelzebub himself quavering in fear and fright, coming right at you.  Duck, or suck it up and get on board.

Since releasing her debut LP, Not For Love Or Money in 2009 (an album which followed on from a couple of extremely successful EPs), Frasca has gone through her share of hard times – relationships ending, gig takings being stolen, life in general, she had the blues, we all have the blues, tough times, but she can’t be kept down and so now, with master guitarist Jeff Curran and new tub-thumper Pete McDonald hot on her heels, Frasca is releasing Sound Painter, her second full-length release, an album she describes as being, “our best work yet”.  She could be right.

“[It’s about] overcoming and moving forward, feeling empowered again and getting rid of any shit feelings,” Frasca declares on the motives behind the 11 songs that make up Sound Painter.  “[But] I feel that the whole album is quite positive – and also dark, you’ve gotta get things out, but overall it is an empowering message, and hopefully it inspires people when they listen.”

In addition to the empowering nature of the lyrics as well, the music itself is all about power.  Album opener, and also lead single, ‘All My Love’ begins with a solitary vocal before shattering into fuzz-drenched guitar riff heaven, and it’s pretty much open slather from thereon in.  This excites me – I was a fan of Frasca’s early work, the EPs, (that down, dirty, slab-of-raw-meat blues explosion), but not so much her debut LP (with its highly polished production, pop leanings and what I viewed as a trip down a path Frasca didn’t need to go).  Sound Painter is very much rooted in the former camp – this is Frasca and her Gentlemen going back to their roots.

“Totally, I one hundred percent agree,” she affirms.  “I think, for us, it was really important to have a very strong vision of what we were trying to achieve.  And we did, so I feel we’re along the roots of where we began, but it’s an evolution.”  This is a solid assessment.  Not For Love Or Money was a very real move from where they began.  Sound Painter, to much more of an extent, adds to what they’ve done, giving it that feel of ‘this is what we do best, but we’ve added these parts too’.

Samuel J. Fell

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