A mixture of strange alchemy brings the soundtrack to a dystopian world to life, a cynical, sceptical eye cast on the world as a musical accompaniment to the strange times we live in – the new album from Baleful Creed, ‘The Lowdown’.
Following on from their previous excellent Seismic Shifter this is not only a step up, but a confident evolution in the Baleful Creed sound, taking their tried and tested recipe and growing to reach new heights.
Those familiar with the Baleful Creed sound will be comforted that they have not deviated from their path, but instead have troden down one that demands an extra listen, an extra moment to revel. Openers, Mr Grim and The Phoenix have a cutting edge, a scalpel like musical incision and a lyrical precision.
What most appeals is that there is a fuller feel to The Lowdown. The bottom ends sounds pleasingly fatter, yet the arrangements have been tightened; the 42 minutes all too brief to absorb it all.
The quick paced ‘Riled Up’ merges into the mid tempo observations of ‘Tramalamapan’ in a stoner-esque anthem for the descent of addiction.
What is noticeable throughout The Lowdown is the clear separation in the mix to allow all to express themselves, Davy Greet’s bass punching through to add the groove and subtlety, such as on ‘One Shot’ amongst others, while Dave Jeffers maintains the sort of solid rhythm one would expect (even adding harmonica…).
There is a confidence on John Allen’s lead work that has to more compact lines that work with a clean edge. Even on the longest track – the wonderfully bluesy ‘Line of Trouble’ – it is a counterpoint to Fin Finlay’s impassioned vocal delivery. And, it is clear that the expressiveness of Fin’s vocals throughout the album adds another layer.
Most of all it is the songwriting that has improved, not that they had a problem with that before, it is just that on The Lowdown it feels more muscular without the need to show off the ‘abs’. Sure, all the influences are still there – NOLA groove, stoner, blues, the better iterations of grunge and solid hard rock – but the identity of Baleful Creed in their own right is more sure than ever before.
The exuberance of the early EPs, the power of Seismic Shifter stand as a testament to the foundations laid for The Lowdown. This is a more mature release, yet still as strident.
There are moments where the melodies scream out for singalongs throughout, but ‘Pilot My Head’ will have heads shaking, toes tapping and vocal chords stretched to join in.
It is not an easy album lyrically, as the topics dealt with such as drugs, mental health amongst others. But there is an element of catharsis in this. We live in an increasingly confusing world: we can rant on social media, but put it to a soundtrack, with another’s jaundiced eye looking upon the world does more than just help, but makes it a shared experience, an experience almost joyous.
Baleful Creed have earned multiple plaudits, acclaim for their live performances and many admirers across the UK and far beyond. The Lowdown will garner yet more for them, and it is richly deserved.
Pre-order the album by dropping the band an email balefulcreed at hotmail.com