Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Record Review - Barrence Whitfield

Published in the Shortlist section of The Sydney Morning Herald, October 22.

Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
Under The Savage Sky
Bloodshot Records

Coming out of Boston in the early ‘80s, Barrence Whitfield & The Savages immediately made a name for themselves as purveyors of hard-driving, punk-edged R&B and soul, no doubt providing inspiration for bands like The Bellrays and their ilk today. The band split after a couple of records, reuniting recently, picking up exactly where they left off.

Under The Savage Sky is a full-throttle rhythm & punk assault, Whitfield displaying the passion and power vocalists a third his age would struggle to muster. Tracks like Rock ‘n’ Roll Baby touch the closest to the original R&B form, all blowing brass and hi-octane beat, while Adjunct Street is all honey-sweetened (albeit mournful) soul. Elsewhere though, this is pure Savages, as brutal and free-flowing as ever. Whitfield howls and croons, guitarist Peter Greenburg shreds and burns, the record struts and poses as a result – powerful stuff from a band who are just as good now as they were in their early prime.

Samuel J. Fell

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