Fathead Livelier Than Ever!

The good news is that Fathead is back and this live workout from Toronto’s Silver Dollar provides 16 good reasons why their return is essential to party-friendly Canadian blues. A sometimes odd amalgam of forces come together in this band to consistently produce standout recordings: the oft-decorated, always engaging vocalist John Mays is steeped in R&B to Al Lerman’s authoritative, Chicago-weaned harp and horn contributions; Teddy Leonard grafts rock to blues guitar, all driven forward by one of the tightest rhythm sections around. The album takes a few songs to ignite until Bobby Charles’ "Why Are People Like That?” drop-kicks the groove into serious overdrive. Mays’ showpiece "Hard Times” blossoms into a guitar and harp-driven jam that resonates well beyond the room. A favourite track is the uppity "Am I Wrong?” — a song that nails the band’s unique blend of blues to funk-based R& B — an infectious combination that distances them from the nearest competition. The triple threat of Lerman’s harp, May’s voice and Leonard’s lethal guitar help make Livelier Than Ever Fathead’s Full House — an all-important fifth disc that underlines the band’s hard-earned reputation as a crack live powerhouse with more than their fair share of soulfulness. (Independent)