Hailing from that Mecca of all things rock n’ roll (i.e. Stoke-on-Trent), Red Spektor are a power trio that sound as if they are 45 years too late for a support slot on the bill at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. And that is not a detrimental comment as this highly competent band manage to evoke the wah-wah peddle-infused guitar rock that Jimi Hendrix made his own, along with the spirit of other late-’60s blues rock pioneers like Mountain and Blue Cheer, albeit with a fuzzier edge.
Opening track ‘Hard to Please’ is perhaps the most defining of the tracks on here, the opening Hendrix-esque guitar noodling leading into a pacey and catchy rocker that is straight out of the late-’60s; think Hendrix, think Cream but with a modern setup that lets each instrument breathe without over-clarifying everything and losing the soul. ‘Transcending’ moves towards slightly darker territory, adding a trippy vocal effect to singer/guitarist John Scane‘s understated voice and going into full bluesy psychedelia with some outstanding guitar work.
The pace is brought back up again, along with the wah-wah pedal, for ‘Everywhere’, which has a whiff of biker rock as Scane lays some serious riffage over the solid rhythms provided by bassist Rob Farrell and drummer Darren Bowen. Next track ‘Redemption’ is the shortest song on the EP and also my personal favourite, although those two things aren’t connected. The song drives forward on a slippery mid-paced groove provided by John Scanes‘ fuzzy main riff that comes from a place not dissimilar to early Led Zeppelin, adding a bit of raunch and putting you right back to heavy rock’s formative years.
The EP finishes with ‘Earth Mother’, a more explosive take on stoner rock that brings Sheavy to mind, albeit with greater guitar dynamics and the feel of a band that could jam like this for hours without stopping. This EP was apparently recorded live over two days and it shows; raw, powerful, bluesy psychedelia played with the whimsical spirit of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and hopefully a full album of this quality will be forthcoming as Red Spektor have proved themselves to be a name worth keeping keep an eye on in the crowded stoner rock scene. And they’re from Stoke-on-Trent – who knew?