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Fatea Records UK

Marc Higgins

27/1/22

Fatea Records UK

AS THE TIDE GETS HIGH AND LOW is the latest album by The Blues Against Youth, a one man project from Italian, Turin resident Gianni Tbay. With an unnamed second female vocalist this is a touch more Delta Blues or Country Blues than his his last EVIL FLATMATES album. Alive with classic blues road song references and the sounds of bus chatter and air brakes, this immersive lockdown album feels at times like an escape, a travelogue or a loose concept album.

Right from the start, with the bouncing guitar on "Goin' to Chicago" this album has funk and a bit of grit. Vocals and instruments have that raw clipped mono punch you get on Pye and Chess 7"s played on a Dansette. Tracks like "Refugee" and "Devil's Train" are lively Folk Blues, with even a touch of skiffle and the sense of the train in the chopped guitar rhythm. Lovely bottleneck and slide too on "Refugee" and "I'd Rather Hide". That track is so Folk Blues authentic you can almost hear the deep woods moonshine still drip alongside Gianni as he plays. Although recorded at home in Italy, constrained by lockdown, "Goin' to East Texas" is a fantasy American road trip song, alive with the sounds and feel woof the road. Loved the free form bus driver announcements that topped and tailed the song, brought back bleary memories of going Greyhound coast to coast in 1990. "Particle Filter Blues" is a franetic petrol head talking blues, which along with the decidedly funky and slightly Beefheart "Blue Muse" shows that Seasick Steve doesn't have a monopoly on the spirited guitar and stomp blues. With the atmospherics of the street and a glorious guitar that takes the blues back to the West African Desert, "Say Something" is a stand out track. Both Gianni's guitar and vocal snarl and spit.

"Oblivion" is a sprawling trance like piece that marries that lyrical guitar, part blues part 60s garage to an insolent, brooding vocal. This is Blues that nods as much to Quicksilver Messenger Service or even The Stone Roses as Electric Chicago. The Velvets riff on the Blues in a Porch with cicada accompaniment. Tbay with just double tracked guitar and voice on "Slanted Path" manages to sound like a band, with some little lead florishes thrown in. Took a few initial listens but then this was an album I couldn't stop playing.

Marc Higgins