Robert Randolph And The Family Band – Brighter Days (Mascot)

Those lamenting the once visceral Vintage Trouble’s alarming descent towards toothless soul (as evidenced by the astonishingly lame Chapter II EP I release) should seek solace in Robert Randolph And The Family Band. 

Remember Ty Taylor and co. when their retro rock and roll was cutting edge and achingly cool? Brighter Days is cut from the same jaw-dropping cloth as Vintage Trouble’s 2011 The Bomb Shelter Sessions and it represents a remarkable creative leap from the rapidly evolving Randolph.

Working with producer of the moment Dave Cobb has elevated one of the world’s premier pedal steel players to a bold new songwriting plane. It’s testimony to the consistency of Brighter Days that the nine originals are more than a match for the Pops Staples And The Staples Singers’ cover Simple Man – Randolph has a happy knack for fusing old school authenticity with 21stcentury attitude and lets his talent run riot on a genuinely startling record.

Perhaps it’s Cobb’s influence but Cut Em Loose – replete with some astonishing slide guitar – could be a bona fide Rival Sons anthem. Elsewhere, Second Hand Man has echoes of Fishbone at its heart and Don’t Fight wouldn’t sound of out of place on White Trash’s self-titled debut. 

I’m Living Off The Love You Give is the kind of tune Vintage Trouble used to knock out for fun and the bluesy Strange Train is brilliantly conceived. Brighter Days is made for long hot nights. Enjoy irresponsibly.