Female-fronted blues rock bands seem to be breaking through left, right and centre at the moment – and that’s not a bad thing at all – but whenever there is an explosion of a certain type of music that you seemingly cannot escape from then inevitably there is going to be one band to rise up and move things on a bit or offer something a little different, and Canadian rockers No Sinner could well be that band.
As with other bands of a similar ilk the strength of No Sinner lies in the powerful vocals of singer Colleen Rennison (spell her name backwards), who manages to convey the bluesy grit and swagger of Janis Joplin – an obvious comparison but an accurate one – with an emotionally honest fragility that, quite honestly, only a female with balls (not that kind…) can muster. The up-and-down vocal rollercoaster of ‘That’d Be the Day’ is a good example of a song that covers the range of Rennison‘s voice as she recounts a tale of a loving relationship gone bad over a jangly blues guitar and nothing else, breathily recounting regret before opening up those pipes and going all-out. For an easy comparison, listen to the opening vocal blast of Blues Pills‘ ‘Devil Man‘ and you’ll know where this band are coming from.
But No Sinner don’t go the same musical route as that band, as the music is purely blues rock without any of the doom or psychedelia to bolster it up. The opening title track sets the standard with a jaunty blues/jazz/big band backing over Rennison‘s ‘don’t-mess-with-me’ vocals before the percussive ‘Love is a Madness’ brings a smoky nightclub vibe to the fore. Lead single ‘Runnin” opens up with a slightly reworked T-Rex riff that opens up into the purest distillation of what this band are about – having a good time with some bouncy, catchy tunes.
If anything, the second half of the album gets even more bluesy, tracks like ‘Devil on My Back’ getting as close to late-’60s psychedelia as the band dare to get, a mid-paced swagger echoing the Devil-may-care attitude of the singer. It all works fabulously well and marks the band out as ones to watch (or listen), not just because of their hugely talented singer but because musically the band can back up Rennison‘s talent with a level of musicianship not often heard from a band only just starting out. Admittedly, a couple of the tracks may be a little too deep or may require you to be in the right mood to fully take in but overall, “Boo Hoo Hoo” is a fantastic album to begin a musical career with, pointing the way for better things to come.