Anyone who’s noticed how many blues players emerging in the last couple of decades are guitarists first, singers second and songwriters a long way third will welcome Marcus Bonfanti’s new effort.
The possessor of a big, bruised baritone voice at least the expressive equal of his nifty guitarmanship, he and his band deliver a deep, dark, dense blues-rock noise packed with nasty nagging riffage, decorated with resonator, acoustic guitar, lap steel and harp touches and all firmly seated atop damn-right-we-mean-business rhythm-section grooves.
You might not be wrong to assume that titles like Alley Cat, Blind Alley and Cheap Whisky mean that Bonfanti is following fairly well-worn lyrical and thematic paths (life is hard, men are flawed, women can’t be trusted, drinking helps etc), but his particular shade of blue is nevertheless far more distinctive and personal than any mere clone of Joey Bones, SRV, Gary Moore or the ex-Bluesbreaker of your choice could provide.
‘Impressive’ and ‘entertaining’ aren’t always synonymous, but Shake The Walls manages to be both, though a lighter thumb on the lyrical cliché button would be welcome. Still… dude’s a serious contender.