Bobby Radcliff – Absolute Hell | Album Review

bobbyradcliffcdBobby Radcliff –¬†Absolute Hell

Krellno Records

11 songs time – 32:35

Bobby Radcliff doles out his music in a raw and spare fashion. His back-up is bass and drums, while he takes on the guitar and singing chores. A few guests step in on guitar and drums. It sounds like everything here was recorded live in the studio. Bobby’s guitar playing is loose and lively, skirting blues, rock, rockabilly and jazz and who knows what else. His voice is appropriate for the material. The one qualm I have with the production is the strange way the drums were recorded. They are mostly buried deep in the mix, at times it sounds like no cymbals were used. Quite often it sounds like the drums were recorded over the phone. It has to be intentional, but why? The music presented here is real. It can best be described as Bobby Radcliff music.

Bobby’s poignant voice shines through on the title song, as it does throughout this recording. The crystal clear tone of the guitar and bass put the icing on this tune. “Airplane People” brings in a New Wave-y vibe as the narrator rants about the airlines taking his old lady away. The lively guitar compliments the free form vocalizing quite nicely. The New Wave influence continues as Bobby draws the lyrics out on the mid-tempo “Sweet Emily”. “Jefferson Air Raid” is the first of five instrumentals and it is fresh, energetic and short and to the point.

Next up is a contender for a Halloween song. The echoed vocal and spooky atmospherics make “Who RU?” a natural for the holiday. The instrumental “Agony Booth” skitters along quite nicely in New Wave fashion. The “I gotta be me” sentiment touted on “Everybody”, a song that features some wicked slide guitar. The drums are brought to the fore a bit more on the instrumental “Broiled Owl”, a song that also includes jump guitar meets fifties rock guitar by Bobby and guest Rockin Johnny Burgin. Beautifully upbeat guitar propels “Krellno Hop”, another instrumental. A Caribbean tinge is given to the closing instrumental “Sly Mongoose”. Bobby’s guitar tone bounces along just splendidly here. Although there is no vocal this song sounds like an instrumental that Leon Redbone could of penned.

A pleasing but short exercise in quirky vocals and wonderfully fifties inspired guitar. Everything about this disc shouts exuberance and raw energy. Keep an eye peeled for this guy if his live show is anything like this effort. “We have a winna!”.

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