“…a diachronic box-ticker rooted in a decades old history of various retro blues stylings. But it’s an enjoyable and entertaining box-ticker…”
Psychedelia! The early seventies! That’s what the cover of ‘Come Together’ yells at me, an aesthetic that belies the music of Malone Sibun… kind of. Psychedelic this is not; very much early 70s it is, in spirit at least. Billed in press blurb as a blues rock super group, they’re constituted by Marcus Malone, who’s described as the “UK based Detroit soulful blues-rock star”, and the less lauded Innes Sibun, who’s simply referred to as “the British blues rock guitarist”. The former’s a star, the latter isn’t? Later in the blurb, though, both are referred to “rock-blues heavyweights”, so acclaim is equally bestowed upon each man. And rightfully so!
Sibun performs lead, slide, acoustic and rhythm guitars, plus mandolin, whereas Malone plays rhythm guitar, and is responsible for vocals, both lead and backing. Other musicians have been brought into the fold, namely sticks man Chris Nugent; bassist Roger Inniss (who Sibun should definitely marry and change his name to Innes Inniss); Stevie Watts and Moz Gamble on keys; Massimiliano Guidi with some additional acoustic guitar on ‘Taste of Your Love’ (a track he co-wrote with Malone); and Chantelle Duncan on backing vocals. The resulting music? A rather tasty set of thoroughly retro blues rock (and beyond) compositions performed by some axiomatically talented folk.
While the set of tunes on ‘Come Together’ are bound together by blues foundations, there’s variety in proceedings. Heavy, groove-infused blues rock opens the album on the title track, while ‘Jodie’ proves to be a consummate country rock composition, with a Quo-esque foot-tapping impetus. ‘So Tired of Living’ provides a moment of melancholic, down-tempo blues with woes galore conveyed through some self-pitying lyrics (hideously clichéd, this one, but still very likeable for what it is). Blues rock boogie rhythms rear their head in ‘Lovelight’, while mid-tempo wistful blues idioms characterise ‘I Want You Back’, a song that comes complete with a gospel choir climax. In fact, there are gospel, soulful sways to be heard elsewhere on the album. Generally, though, ‘Come Together’ is a diachronic box-ticker rooted in a decades old history of various retro blues stylings. But it’s an enjoyable and entertaining box-ticker, which is the most important thing here.
A word about the production throughout the album, too. Everything has an amazingly warm, analogue sound where the slick performances shine through an equally marvellous mix. Sibun and Malone produced themselves, while the latter flew solo for mixing duties. So, a great sound, a great set of tunes; it’s all quality stuff that’ll undoubtedly prove mightily popular with all the blues aficionados out there.
8.5/10 Review by Mark Holmes