Released December 2003
I turn up 'Bluescream' from two-dimensional soft to three-dimensional stereo. Not enough. Up volume until the music feels palpable. And I wonder, "So this is what happens when a melodic rockin' McCully Workshop tunesmith goes hard rock? What led him to this? Was it his companions?"
Was it Roger Kaye, vocals, who also wrote 'Dysfunctional'? Or Robin Gallagher on guitar and Kevin Gibson on drums? (Our Spaced Out man, Tully McCully, plays bass in this four man band, or, if you prefer, a three-man band with a lead vocalist.)
We've long known Tully has hard rock tendencies, and he comes by it honestly. After all, 'Buccaneer' is not a tune Barry Manilow could cover. And Tully and Friends work out on tough lyrics like "I'll drink the wine, I eat the apple from the bloody tree" from 'Closest Thing I've Got' (a song about lust which I enjoy because, well, I like lust). They give us raw power in volume and vocals in 'Keep It Coming'. And as an American, and as a citizen of the world, don't get me started talking about the profound 'After September'.
What at first sounds like a new direction for Tully develops into a recognition of his songwriting talents rocking harder. I hear some McCully Workshop in structure and melodic sense (check the harmony vocalsin 'Serving My Time'), but those are silver touches among the brazen hard rock, echoes in the evolution of his style.
'Bluescream' is not a classic rock retro outing. In Bluescream, I hear the sons of 'Buccaneer' and 'Chinese Junkman' and a rockin' man's creative growth, but this is strikingly new. Of course, as multi-talentedas Tully is (or should that sometimes be, "as multi-tracked as Tully is...?"), he doesn't make CDs alone--sometimes I think he's a friend to everyone on The Cape.
Tully sounds like a perfectionist crafting and honing songs. Typical of most African rock CDs, there are no throwaway tunes here--it is either good, or is not included. 'Another Man's Woman' may not be my favorite track, but it does build to a satisfyingly fierce finish.
This classic rock guitar sound in a modern venue has plenty of slamming drums, strident and deliberate guitars, and assertive vocals. But embedded in the towering rock guitars striding the land in seven-leagueboots are talents and skills Tully doesn't care to shake, even when working in back to basics Saturday Night Rock ("Yeah, gimme another Windhoek, boet"). Trademark McCully Workshop background harmony vocals breeze by in the company of MW signature melodies, as in 'Freedom Bell' and 'The Countdown'.
The CD's penultimate number is a driving song titled, fittingly, 'I Want it Now', that moves you along to the big closer, 'Fast Lane'--and I'm off to road test this CD. Wall of sound? More like an eighteen-wheeler of sound.
So how did a nice guy like Tully arrive in the hard guitar world of hard rock? By hard work and experience. And I can't say he got here by peer pressure because, as a triple threat, he has no peer. Of course, Roger Kaye and Robin Gallagher are not anonymous sidemen but craft masters rocking out lyrically and musically smart tunes.
Bluescream is not good boys gone bad, but solidly rocking good guys. In fact, I'd let my sister go to a Bluescream show....
Kurt Shoemaker, Blanco, Texas, May 2004
BlueScream is a new group formed by Roger Kaye (vocals), Tully McCully (bass), Robin Gallagher (guitar) and Kevin Gibson (drums). Their self-titled album, which I must admit I'd not heard of before (it's been out since December 2003), was given to me by Brian Currin -- I must remember to thank him -- this 14 track CD is excellent!
To me BlueScream sound very very much like the early Toxic Shame stuff and that's not a bad thing -- it's a very listenable sound! Their 80's early 90's sound is addictive and intoxicating, although I don't like one or two of their tracks I have listened to the CD over and over already!
Their first song 'Without your love' smacks of memories and sounds that I thought I'd forgotten. Definitely one of my favourite tracks! Another favourite is 'Closest Thing I've Got' which has Roger sounding a little like Pink Floyd. Then rock on to 'Keep It Coming' which the band does very well. The experience and sheer talent of the members of the band shine through their tracks! The song 'The Countdown' is an excellent song for the band to list on their site for download as it is a great example of their work. Take a browse over there, download, listen and then get the CD! 'Another man's woman' is another fantastic track with clever lyrics. 'The Way You Look Tonight' and 'Fast Lane' are also worth a mention as great songs. Most of their songs have a fairly similar structure working up from a slower intro and they've mastered their recipe very well. I've mentioned the word favourite a few times here -- it's a great CD get the picture?
I'd not listen to the CD day after day, but when I'm in the mood or driving a fair distance I'd definitely listen to the CD over and over.
LAD, zaZone.com, February 2004
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