Southwest Ontario-based Daddy Long Legs are unmistakably a blues band. But theirs aren't the blues of yesteryear, time-worn and done to death. They bring a ferocious, punk-inspired energy and rockabilly-rebel spirit to The Devil's In The Details, their fifth recording to date.
They call it garage blues, an apt description indeed. It's a raw and raucous sound, with lots of distortion and dirt. "A modern take on retro-vintage," says guitarist and vocalist Mike Elliot, who leads the foursome - Chris 'Junior' Mallick on harmonica, with drummer Jeff Wagner and bassist Steve Toms - through eleven hard-rocking tunes credited collectively to the band.
The playlist includes a handful of greasy, grinding shuffles - the title tune that kicks things off, "40 Hour Week," a tough-as-nails end-of-the-week drinking song from the Thorogood school, and "Half Pint," a song about just what might result from the former. But "Your Love Is Killing Me" dwells somewhere between the Delta and the swamp, and the moody "Easy For Me" has a bit of a New Orleans hook. The rollicking "Your Love Is Killing Me" rides a train-rhythm beat with a manic edge, while "Get Drunk And Be Someone" is pure, rave-up rock 'n'roll driven by an irresistibly bouncy harp lick.
Regardless of the groove, though, Daddy Long Legs sound like no one but themselves. Elliot is a killer guitarist, his tone gloriously dirty and nasty, and an excellent vocalist. The rhythm section pounds with pile-driving fury, yet they're supple and responsive, swinging rather than rocking, and the sheer energy is irresistible. And the arrangements make excellent use of Mallick's harmonica; it's not employed simply as an accent instrument, but as an integral element in the craft and construction of the songs.
Best played loud, The Devil's In The Details is an absolute revelation, a reaffirmation of the enduring power of the blues and proof that there's still lots of room for creativity and craft.
Excellent stuff, highly recommended!