Wickens-Knight Wickens-Knight

It’s possibly misleading that this crack troupe recently won the Toronto Blues Society’s National talent search — as this record barely dips its toes into blues waters. Although the band’s individual members are seasoned blues veterans, this record digs deeper into roots rock circles and has, across its ten spirited tracks (six originals) a finely-crafted sound boasting superb musicianship across the board. These boys are tight and the songs represent a smart smorgasbord of the varied music they obviously enjoy: the reggae splash of "I Got Something Real”; the roots-y pop of "Mean Woman”; the Tex-Mex snarl of "Little Girl”; the Dave Edmunds sass of Richard Perry’s "Have Love, Will Travel” (which gives Wickens his license to take no prisoners); the soft soul of Otis Redding’s "Dreams To Remember” and the deep blues of Robert Johnson’s "Riverside.” Wickens’s guitar chops are beyond distinctive to Knight’s rock-schooled vocals. The record’s best track is "5 Below Zero” with its funky, Little Feat backbeat and crystalline production, while "Nothing Personal” is a drop-dead beautiful ballad that showcases the entire band in their best light. An eye-opening debut with the promise of much to come. (Independent)