No Love – Billy Roberts and The Rough Riders (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Just when you think that you have got the measure of an artist, they can still often throw you a curveball. The goods ones can anyway. And I thought I had the musical measure of Billy Roberts and his roots-rock posse. They are all about country-tinged rock and roll, raw edged, low-slung, foot on the monitor, good time groovers; music to booze, bop and boogie to, right? Well yes, they are still all of those things but No Love shows another side to the band too. And that’s why you keep coming back to them.

No Love starts in the realms of folky balladry and gradually heads south of the border into mariachi territory but does so in a tasteful and understated manner. Deftly picked guitars and hushed vocals tug the heartstrings as trumpets drift along on the sonic winds just picking up a bit of pace towards the end to carry the song home. Perfect. Gorgeous. Perfectly gorgeous.

We are so used to hearing Tanner Linsey let rip with those incendiary southern-fried, countryfied, rock and roll salvos, it’s great to hear him turn his, not inconsiderable, skills to more deft string sounds and Sophia McCarthy’s harmonising adds the perfect softness to the vocal textures.

As I said, the best musicians are the ones who, after a few years of listening to, exploring and writing about their music still posses the ability to surprise you and that is exactly what is happening here. No Love? I love it.

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