KRIS BARRAS BAND – Light It Up (2019)
The KRIS BARRAS BAND just released their brand ne album “Light It Up”, where Josiah J. Manning, Elliott Blacker and Will Beavis come along to lend their talents in an effort to produce an album that delivers in quality and authenticity.
Unpretentiously but strong, “Light It Up” collects 13 originally-penned songs that wed technical abilities with a bluesy sensibility that eludes so much contemporary (crap) rock&pop music.
There’s no denying that Kris Barras has been a part of his own music fairytale. From performing ZZ Top covers in claustrophobic venues to a handful of spectators to playing with ZZ Top’s legendary Billy F. Gibbons at venues such as London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire in Supersonic Blues Machine within the space of two years, Barras continues to shimmy up the beanstalk towards his own golden goose.
The opening slide-grind of “What You Get” quickly morphs into a fluid guitar riff and a stomping rocker. Confident without being braggadocious, Barras allows his vocals and guitar the correct amount of space. Aggressive when appropriate and a bit more subtle when the song requires it, his guitar shines through while allowing the other instrumentation its place.
Perhaps the best song on the album, “Broken Teeth” provides a window into the psyche of a man who was once a professional fighter. Proclaiming, “It don’t bother me, cracked knuckles and broken teeth,” the band combines great backing vocals over a picked rhythm that drives the tune forward.
“Light It Up” is a string of warm, sass-infused blues workings that shine with the sheen of keyboards from Manning and luxuriously textured vocal lines that are bolstered by harmonies from Phoebe Jane, Alex Hart and Joanna Cooke. Throughout, it’s the choruses that bring animated vibrance to each track, with particular thanks to the punctuation brought by this vocal backing.
In tracks such as “Ignite (Light It Up)” and “Wound Up”, the organic southernality of KBB’s sound in all its infectiously rhythmic glory brings joy and jive to the listener.
“6AM” balances hard rock guitar and distorted vocals with mandolin, banjo and outstanding, backing “whoh ohhs.” Barras’s solo slinks into the mix and sounds almost liquid.
A few tracks later, listeners are once again treated to some wonderful playing during the apex of the album. “Let The River Run Through You” features a guitar solo that probably could have lasted a while longer.
“Pride Is Forever” feels like an encore and it fits well as the denouement. After all the impassioned verses and instrumental heft, the Kris Barras Band ends on an earnest and uplifting note. Strong guitar passages and emotive backing vocals punctuate the underlying message that, “pain is temporary, pride is forever”.
Bluesy Classic Rock fans will yield plenty of joy from “Light It Up” – it’d be hard not to enjoy the organic Skynyrd-ish melodies of “Broken Teeth” and the nippy rhythm of “Counterfeit People”.
Barras and his band has created an album of largely uplifting sensations that will appeal rockers of all ages, it’s music from the heart, vibrant, and produced / recorded with an impeccable sound.
01 – What You Get
02 – Broken Teeth
03 – Vegas Son
04 – Ignite (Light It Up)
05 – 6AM
06 – Rain
07 – Counterfeit People
08 – Let The River Run
09 – Bullet
10 – Wound Up
11 – What A Way To Go
12 – Not Fading
13 – Pride Is Forever
Kris Barras – Vocals, Guitar
Elliott Blackler – Bass
Will Beavis – Drums
Josiah J Manning – Keys, Production
Phoebe Jane, Alex Hart, Joanna Cooke – Backing vocals