When a band like Gentle Savage appears, I’m immediately intrigued. Blending blues, classic and hard rock, Introduction harkens back to a bygone era.
With that combination, it gives the music a genuine retro feel and if you went in completely blind to the EP, you’d be convinced it was from a band from the 1970s. It’s that authentic.
Introduction is comprised of three songs, each with their own distinct flavour yet all of them retain a similar DNA at their core. It’s most obvious with “Bring Back Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “Hey Hey Hey Hey”, their bouncy honky tonk and harmonica-infused songs sounding like Mott the Hoople at their finest.
Meanwhile the aptly-titled “Far Side” insists on sitting on the other side of the room. With the guitars from Tornado Bearstone (doubling up on lead vocals) and Mark Mayfield on the intro akin to Gary Moore during his blues period; it makes the abrupt yet welcome shift apparent from the very beginning. Although disappearing from view to make way for a macabre sound, it rears its head during the guitar solo, fading in and out seamlessly to avoid any notion of incoherence.
The aforementioned “Bring Back ‘n’ Roll” is a call to arms with its crunching and gritty guitars and a massive chorus centred on the benefits of the music, it’s the most radio-friendly track on the EP with a slight pop gloss to it and most importantly, a catchy hook.
With two guitars, keyboards provided by L.A. Arthur, and a rhythm section of Vance Flow (bass) and Jambe Amebe (drums), you could accuse the Finns of attempting to cram too much into their tracks. However, it all comes together seamlessly to sink its fuzzy, vintage claws into you; you’ll be mumbling the simple yet effective chorus of “Hey Hey Hey Hey” long after it’s finished.
With many bands looking at decades-old influences to create their own sound for the modern era, Gentle Savage have crafted a love letter addressed to that lost time with Introduction. With more meat on its bones than some albums possess, it’s a lesson for other bands on how to make a debut.
Introduction is released 13th January 2017