Review by Steve Dean
Having seen Giro Junkie perform solo twice now, I can’t help but wonder when he is going to do a gig with the excellent band that accompanies him on two of the three tracks on this well-produced EP.
The first, ‘Confiscate the Hippies’, starts with an authentic and unexpectedly different ceilidh band sound with great ensemble vocals; changing to a rock beat after a perfectly-timed middle bridge. Although I haven’t heard them in years, this is the sort of thing The Chieftains used to do so well and I’m sure they would have been very proud of a number like this. Giro Junkie, a.k.a. Rich Bloor, writes interesting lyrics with a propensity to sound as if gleaned from life experience and sings them with a certain raw poignancy drawn upwards from the heart. His tendancy to sing in his native Stoke accent adds very much to the overall flavour of this thoughtfully-arranged song and the band; drummer Mark Stevens; Will Chitty on banjo and piano; Dromer on djembe and digeredoo and the man himself on guitar and accordian cannot be faulted.
The digeredoo and djembe come into play towards the end of the following track, the somewhat less than aesthetically titled, ‘Like the Dog to the Vomit’, and it works very well indeed; as does the whole, distinctly unusual composition. Beginning as a summery-feeling folk tune, things soon thicken in intensity as a compelling drum beat is added and the whole ditty shifts gear as it moves into a kind of aboriginal chant. Changing beat again a little later, the song then goes completely tribal as Dromer and his digeredoo get under way. Apart from Rolf Harris’s ‘Sunrise’; a song which more people like than they would admit to, I’m hard pushed to think of another Western world popular song in this vein. Given the right promotion, I can’t help wondering if this tune would be a ‘hit’. It’s that different, its appeal is impossible to predict. Mind you, it worked for Rolf Harris. I wonder if Mr Bloor can paint?
Sung and played solo, the last song, ‘Novemtree’, has a Lennon-ish ‘Working Class Hero’ feel of despair throughout as Rich implores those around him to “come down to my height.” Not as readily appealing as the two previous tracks, but tends to grow on you after a few hearings.
A little hard to categorize, Giro Junkie and his band have produced something a bit different, and well worth a listen.
Hear them on http://www.myspace.com/girojunkie