When The Moon Shines Bright - Reviews
Every now and then you get to listen to a cd that instantly has your attention. This is one of ‘em. The Wildcards are a British band that releases their 3rd studio album called “When the Moon Shines Bright”. Filthy, horny and gritty are the keywords with this band, that not only consists of a few good instrumentalists. They sound like a tight unit that will do well in any bar, as long as it’s in a Robert Rodriguez movie.
Listening to this album I am taken from genre to genre without being an undecided mish mash of genres: Rockabilly, touch of Dub Reggae, Ska with some Westcoast Swing and a touch of Horror Surf to top things off. There’s been a lot of writing about the new generation of blues musicians that have the fire and passion that older musicians lack.
These guys don’t look like 20 somethings to me but the devilish energy drips from my speakers, the music is that filthy and passionate.
Together with Nick Curran’s “Reform School Girl” this is already one of the best releases of this year. I hope the year will continue in this manner, and let one of those releases please be one of singer Becca Langsford. I just love her vocals on the track “Sweet Baby of Mine”
“Thank you Sir may I have another?”
Some highlights for me:
When the Moon Shines Bright: Spooky intro and track that should make it to the soundtrack of HBO hitseries “True Blood”
Chocolate Shake: Wonderfull filthy rendition of the Duke Ellington classic
Gal from Kokomo: That’s the way to cover Roy Brown these days! No sissy dancesteps in your bright colored zoot zuit Swing music, but but gritty and wild!
***** 5 stars
Marcel “De Schuur” Schuurman, www.bluesforum.com - April 30th
This is the third album from this leading British blues & roots group and what and album! "When The Moon Shines Bright" crackles from beginning to end!
A hypnotic groove is laid down and the effects of a full moon is sung about on the title track. "Women Are The Root Of All Evil" is sexy and swinging, "She Can Rock" is hyperkinetic supercharged rock & roll with completely unhinged guitars. Duke Ellington's "Chocolate Shake" seems inspired by bleak back streets at night. A delicious exotic, nasty angle comes through guitarist Martin Vowles who wrote "Out Of Control". "Got Sumpin" For You " is a super-catchy R & B song. There's also the surprising instrumental "Dead Cat Bounce", and a close to original adaptation of Ruth Brown's "Sweet Baby of Mine" - with a striking lead vocal from youngster Becca Langford! Lastly there's the Roy Brown and West Coast jump blues classic "Gal From Kokomo" and the surf-meets-blues "Welcome To The Snakepit".
This album gets a long, heartfelt "Yes!". There's nothing else as exciting and good coming from the blues. Buy blind, essential!
ctrl.alt.country - Belgium - Feb 2010
The Wildcards are spreading their swing blues tentacles far and wide, and are clearly having a lot of fun in the process. The jungle swingarama of ‘Gal From Kokomo’, the Little Richard howl of ‘She Can Rock’, the nervy ‘40s noir nuance of ‘Dead Cat Bounce’ plus a glut of surf’n’swamp guitars all add up to a frenetic firestorm of transnational delight. And if the dizzying guitar work doesn’t pull you in by the lapels and throw you into a lindy-hop, Vince Lee’s tungsten-tough, weather-worn baritone croon surely will.
24/7 Magazine - Feb 2010
What nobody thought possible was in the spring of 2010 still possible. A group of German rockers went into the studio to record modern songs with a fifties feel. After a sophisticated media campaign, The Baseballs, the resin-like rockabilly dolls dominate the European charts with 'Umbrella' by Rhianna, sitting there for 17 weeks at least.
The Wildcards are from the UK and since their inception in 2003 have previously released two albums. Unlike their Eastern neighbors, The Wildcards stick mainly to their own material and sound all together a lot more 'mean'. 'When The Moon Shines Bright' starts with a wailing feedback siren before the rock'n'roll freak show starts. The full moon does indeed appear to have an effect on these people. With 'Women Are The Root Of All Evil' they may indeed deter a potential part of their audience, but heck ... 'She Can Rock' rips it up and all is well again. Compared with earlier work, this album has more up-tempo tracks and slightly less emphasis on the "blues". 'Out of Control' is launched to an old-fashioned jungle-beat and has it's rudder reversed halfway through to finish on a languid reggae rhythm, the guitars are almost warped by the tremolo use, this is surf 'n' swamp and intense rockabilly all in one. We hear Eastern influences in 'Welcome To The Snakepit', and with 'Dead Cat Bounce' we return to the B-movie soundtracks of the fifties. In Duke Ellington's 'Chocolate Shake' The Wildcards recreate their own big band arrangement with guitars without losing the attractive vintage sound. Becca Lansford, (who sings backing vocals on the album), provides the excellent lead vocal on 'Sweet Baby of Mine'. The album is closed in recapitulation with an A-cappella version of the controversial 'Women Are The Root Of All Evil' from the fifties. A performance that would even make Screamin' Jay Hawkins tremble!
With 'When The Moon Shines Bright', despite it going far beyond just rockabilly, it would not be surprising if this third album by this British group takes advantage of the renewed interest in this music.
Jeroen Bakker - www.bluesmagazine.nl - April 2010
The Wildcards - When The Moon Shines Bright
This English quartet are mostly known to fans of rockabilly and yet their music is full of blues and surf accents. The Wildcards were formed in 2003. They were born from the ashes of two talented bands, Vince Lee & His Big Combo and The Nightporters. The singer / guitarist / multi-instrumentalist Vince Lee and Al Wallis on bass joined together with guitarist Martin Vowles and drummer Kevin Crowe. "When the moon shines bright" is their third album. It follows "On fire!" published in 2004 and "Raising Hell" in 2007.
Vince Lee is clearly a character haunted by his strings. He immediately lights an incendiary to start his "When the moon shines bright", a devastating firebrand. His vocal delivery is hypnotic. His lyrics deal with the influence caused by the moon on humanity and the animal world and the atmosphere is strange, even morbid, the guitars are ominous, the drumming is powerful and ruthless. And this dark tension holds right to end of the album.
Next is another truth?: "Women are the root of all evil". Written by Paul Williams, the track plunges us back into the fifties. Vince Lee ands Martin Vowles are fine guitarists, their swing is very natural. Moreover, we must recognize that the four wildcards are brilliant musicians and they are able to adapt well to all the styles developed on this album. "She can rock" is macerated in an atmosphere of pure rock'n'roll. Vince's angry voice recalls Little Richard, the guitars are wild, and hot right to the end.
Incorporating elements of jazz in their expression is very interesting. Moreover, their version of "Chocolate Shake" by Duke Ellington is simply remarkable. Vince Lee playing the kazoo just like he's blowing a muted trumpet. Vowles hits the strings in a gypsy style, even glancing towards the technique and the sensitivity of Django Reinhard. "Got Sumpin' for you" was written in the early 50s by Guitar Slim, this is an a very personal R&B adaptation, drawn mostly from rock and roll and doowop, it highlights the guitars very clearly.
Throughout the instrumental "Dead cat bounce, Vowles again displays his incomparable instrumental technique, the swing simply shines. It's musical theme seems to be borrowed from the soundtrack of a feature film of the past.
"Gal from Kokomo" is a West Coast jump tune, written by Roy Brown. This is translated into pure rockabilly. The two guitars provide the perfect part that was originally reserved for saxophones.
Young English vocalist (Author's note: a friend of the band!), Becca Langsford has been invited to perform "Sweet Baby of mine", a delicious foray into R & B, popularized at the time by Miss Ruth Brown. Swing, doowop and gypsy guitar accents dominate the tune.
There are other curious components to the album, from the pen of Vince Lee we get, "Welcome To The Snakepit", it takes us to the heart of a dense Eastern universe. This excellent album ends with an hypnotic, tribal and percussive version of "Women are the root of all evil".
www.musiczine.net - March 2010
The Wildcards - When The Moon Shines Bright - Album Info...
All of this is served up with a bunch of obscure vintage tunes such as 'Chocolate Shake' by Duke Ellington, a cool re-working of the original big band arrangement, stripped down to its dirty bare bones, a song with some very dark lyrical undertones... pretty risqué for the 1930's you might say!
The Wildcards invited young female vocalist Becca Langsford to add a new dimension to their sound, and to sing the lead vocal on their version of Ruth Brown's 'Sweet Baby of Mine'. It showcases Becca's awesome vocal talents on this rocking track from the 50's, full of handclaps and Vince's cool doo-wop backing vocals.
Time to shake it all up with a kick-ass rendition of Little Ike's 'She Can Rock'. Vince screams out those Little Richard inspired vocals the only way you can... like he's possessed by Satan himself!. 'Gal From Kokomo' is a West Coast jump blues classic from Roy Brown, fat guitars replace the tenor and baritone saxes of the original version. Guitar Slim's 'Got Sumpin' For You' takes the mood into early 50's rhythm & Blues territory, Vince's outrageous guitar solo mimicking the original's ‘over-amped and too loud in the mix' qualities to chaotic perfection. Time for a little controversy with our last selection, 'Women Are The Root Of All Evil'. An overlooked gem from the 50's by Paul Willams featuring Martin's off the wall guitar fills and a lot of tongue in cheek gospel testifying. Make of it what you will... Praise Them Roots!