The other day I was asked why a local gig guide I write never featured any blues artists. As I reeled off a number of live shows that featured bands with blues elements that I had written about, the reply in each case was “that isn’t blues, that’s rock” or something similarly dismissive. In hindsight I realise that it was the age-old case of a blue purest and someone with a wider generic brief trying to find common ground. Never going to happen. To me blues should be dark and dirty, earthy and emotive, raw and if required, raucous. Just like Gold Phoenix. Admittedly they make blues in the same way people like The Jim Jones Revue make blues or like the MC5 made rock and it is in just such a primordial stew that this 5 track EP has been steeped.
A snarling soundclash of balls to the wall, riotous rock and roll and thrashed out blues grooves, the result feels like an unreconstructed gang of tearaways that might have been making music at any time since “teenage music” first arrived in the 1950’s to terrify parents everywhere. If you want a quick taster of the scope of the band then Mortal Man, the song that closes the e.p. says as much about Gold Phoenix as you will need, a slow burning, emotive paean to the limitations of the human condition and one that eventually burns out in it’s own intense blaze of glory.
All the other songs sit somewhere along that same grunged blues – garage rock axis, swinging one way then the other but being fully aware of what they do best and sticking to the formula. And that said it’s a formula that has served contemporary music well for the last sixty years so why look to change it now, especially when you can still use it to turn out songs that are this great, this raw, this brutally down to earth. I thought that The Greasy Slicks were the only young band not ashamed to take all the things that, in my non-purest opinion, made blues great, but I can now add Gold Phoenix to the short list.