Trouble & Strife Trouble & Strife

This hard-working, Orangeville, ON-based band play a polished form of blues-based pub rock that proves we all need to get out more. This is smart music played by a seasoned five-piece who blend the working class blues and R&B of Dr. Feelgood with a tough, full sound that is distinctively their own. In fact, Bruce Ley’s gritty vocals approximate those of Lee Brilleaux to a tee while Michael Ley’s crisp’n’crunchy lead guitar and the skin-tight rhythm section of drummer Maureen Brown and bassist Greg Smith provide them with the rough-edged, sweaty Stones-grade muscle that puts this disc over the top. From the full assault of "Keep On Drinking” to the acoustic, intimate finale, Trouble & Strife are on to something good. Co-vocalist Larry Kurtz shines on the slower numbers where his softer, gentler voice combines with his studied adeptness on blues harp for added penetration. A full ten of 11 songs are home-grown originals, which makes this release all the more satisfying. There’s more heart here than you’d expect from first-timers but the fact that two of these journeymen have actually played together for nine years makes the timing of this release all too perfect. This is an exceptional band that deserve to be seen in their natural setting, followed by copious amounts of ice-cold beer. (Independent)