Believe (MAD HAT)


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Brit-blues vocalist returns with killer second album.

Birmingham singer Rebecca Downes is rapidly becoming a primal force in her field, having taken a step up in sophistication from her excellent debut album, Back To The Start, released last year. Together with her songwriting partner Steve Birkett, who also supplies searing electric guitar on this 12-song follow-up, Downes delivers a virtuoso performance throughout, demonstrating the full dynamic range of her voice, an asset of serious power.

Fortunately she knows when to hold back on the full lung-power (see the subtle piano ballad 1000 Years), allowing the melodies to speak for themselves. The hooks of Night Train (not the Guns N’ Roses song, although there’s a certain west coast vibe in common with that tune) and the line, ‘A broken heart can mend itself ’ in Never Gonna Learn will stick in your head for months. You won’t mind, though.

Joel McIver

Joel McIver is a British author. The best-known of his 25 books to date is the bestselling Justice For All: The Truth About Metallica, first published in 2004 and appearing in nine languages since then. McIver's other works include biographies of Black Sabbath, Slayer, Ice Cube and Queens Of The Stone Age. His writing also appears in newspapers and magazines such as The Guardian, Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Rolling Stone, and he is a regular guest on music-related BBC and commercial radio.