This is actually Belgian band The Sore Losers’ third long player but the first that is getting a full international release, so what is it about Skydogs that has seen those in the know want to push this to a wider audience? They have already been playing sold out shows in Belgium and toured Austria and Switzerland with French and UK shows promised for the future. The Sore Losers plays 70’s inspired blue’s rock, sing in English and have with Skydogs produced a record that will not only remind you of those times but remind you with their energy, attitude and songwriting that this genre is as fresh now as 40 years ago.
The album opener “Blood Moon Shining” introduces you instantly to The Sore Losers sound and influences. The opening riffs are very Led Zeppelin, heavy, doom laden and very groovy. It’s has tremendous pace to the beginning of the album, bluesy, laid back, think of smoky clubs, kids sat on the floor nodding along. What I particularly like about this track is when the vocals are introduced, they are very Perry Farrell. So imagine a 70’s blue psych rock Led Zeppelin fronted by a spaced out Perry Farrell and you will be close. What’s not to like? This vibe is continued in general on the following two tracks “You Got it Bad” and the single “Cherry Cherry”. On “Cherry Cherry” in particular the whole pace is up in temp and you have a pretty decent dance track.
It’s probably inevitable with a blues album these days to mention The Black Keys somewhere and the opening riffs to “Emily” fills this criterion. Where The Sore Losers differ though is that vocally they offer a lot more than their contemporaries. There is a little bit more variety and range, especially in the melody. It is almost indie rock and it makes for a very catchy number. It is also worth highlighting the use of lead guitar throughout this album. The riffs vary from a very bluesy grungey riffs like on “Dirty Pretty Little Thing” to a melodic story telling style as seen in “Emily”
The track that really helps make me fall in love with this record though and for me it is the sort of track that can help define a band and the sound of that band and album is “All I Am”. I suppose it would be best described as a ballad but it has that hazy quality, almost dreamlike, there is a casualness to the vocals and the lead guitar riffs both carry the melody extremely well and also have a relaxed quality that draws you in. This helps create an atmosphere that in itself defines the band and the sound. The closet comparison I can think of is Enuff Z Enuff or something along those lines.
So with Skydogs The Sore Losers have not only mixed up a variety of styles but have created a unique sound to this record, its laid back, its bluesy, its raw but most of all it engrosses you. It has a heavy nod in the direction of its influences but produces a sound and a band that you can fall in love and you can see live now. This is ground zero as far as The Sore Losers are concerned and based on this outing we are going to be hearing a lot more about them in the future.
Skydogs is out now