Thirteen Stars – Finest Ramshackle Jam (Rock People Records)
Don’t be fooled by the rather self-deprecating title.
There’s nothing ramshackle about this genre-spanning jam.
In fact, it’s as cohesive as it is classic.
Both on the button and off the cuff.
It’s not so much rickety as it is riotous.
And Finest Ramshackle Jam is a record Thirteen Stars can build their reputation on.
Seasoned vets of the UK’s unforgiving live scene, there’s no disputing the band’s charm as a gigging quartet.
But for the first time in their career that concert vibe has been captured on tape.
And fans of no-holds-barred Southern rock and roll are in for a treat.
Frontman Hoss Thompson has a blast wringing every last bead of emotion out of a truly brilliant album.
A fusion of Tom Petty, Spike and Alice Cooper, his raspy vocals are utterly compelling.
As a storyteller, Thompson is both passionate and persuasive.
And as a songwriter he boasts that canny knack of crafting heart melting melodies with attitude.
Petty comes to the fore on the evocative Running So Long and Keep Calm And Carry On.
But there’s a reassuring hint of Cormac Neeson and classic The Answer in the latter.
Not that Thompson needs to ape his heroes.
This bloke’s a bona fide rock and roll hero in his own right.
Check out the country meets rock and roll strut of Be There In The Morning – a swaggering statement of intent.
Or be blown away by the brazen rush of Razor’s Edge…if you haven’t already been blindsided by the unrelenting riffage at heart of a wild intro.
Thompson does his best impression of the Coop on Break It Down Slowly.
It’s a snarling, unforgiving slice of gutsy garage rock. What’s not to like?
Stirring set closer Soldier reinforces the point that there’s nothing ramshackle here.
It’s a song built to last and a tune that will surely stand the test of time with its meandering Skynyrd-esque soloing and sobering outro.
The sky’s the limit for Thirteen Stars.
Finest Ramshackle Jam? More like the Cumbrian band’s finest work yet.