New: We've just partnered with LMG to offer you a national gig guide. Check it out!
Basson Laubscher And The Violent Free Peace return with “Testify”, an album crammed with blues rock bangers from start to finish. A great deal of effort has gone into the preservation of an authentic product, faithful to the organic nature of the blues even when there are a few bells and whistles thrown in.
‘Testify’ is as a strong an opener as you could hope for. It’s a fast-paced start that sees the guitar playing off against a formidable horn section. They trade off rapid fire riffs before a chunky chorus complete with backup vocals completes the picture. As a bonus drummer Francois Geyser throws in a few Bonham-style fills.
It’s also worth noting that there’s an extraordinary sense of balance on the entire album. Whether a song features added backing choir, harmonica or a standard three piece rock setup the mix always feels absolutely perfect. It’s one of those things that you may only realize once it’s been pointed out but it can make all the difference.
For track two, ‘Lost’ the band takes a sharp turn down a warm and dreamy country avenue followed by the gentle blues of ‘Going Home’. These are the exceptions on the album in terms of liveliness but are performed with a deep respect for the style they embody. And next it’s ‘Rattlesnake’ where Laubscher seems well centered with a combination of rock and blues elements all getting their fair share of airplay. From there onwards it’s all still blues, sometimes with more rock ‘n’ roll and sometimes with a bit of classic rock thrown in. And of course there are enough solos to keep air guitarists happy for weeks.
Religious references pop up here and there, as is to be expected from the album’s title, but in terms of lyrics they never delve too deeply into the subject. Instead, the ultimate message of “Testify” is that Basson Laubscher and The Violent Free Peace consider the blues itself to be their religion, their very way of life.
Follow Stian on Twitter.
Listen to “Testify” below.