John Butler Trio – Flesh & Blood


Album

Flesh & Blood

Label

Jarrah Records

Year

2014

Genre

For Fans Of

Ben Harper - Xavier Rudd

Summary

John Butler coming in with the goods.

Rating

80 / 100

John Butler certainly likes to keep his fans waiting when it comes to new music. It’s been a few years now since Butler released ‘April Uprising’ back in 2010, but the lengthy wait between albums is something that JBT fans have come to expect – and really, it’s not all that much of a problem, because John Butler always delivers, making the wait well worth it.

The open acoustic guitar/percussion intro to opener ‘Spring To Come’ manages to seem both vaguely familiar, yet exciting all at once. Maintaining a fairly laid back feel throughout, the song thrives off of a strong bass line. We see a different approach to the usual big roots/rock album openers from the John Butler Trio. That’s not to say we don’t see the edgier, rock-driven side of Butler’s songwriting on this album, however. In fact, you don’t need to wait that long for it at all. ‘Livin’ In The City’ brings a type of funk based rock that works its way into your bones and just makes you want to dance! It’s also the first time we hear Butler break out one of his masterful solos on the record, and he shows that he is still in fine form.

Bullet Girl’ again sees a more stripped back approach, and feels like completely new territory for Butler. The song takes a look at a broken relationship, telling of love and loss, and is aided by the raw production of the record. Recorded at Butler’s own studio, The Compound, in Fremantle, it has a very natural, earthy feel to it, adding a whole new level of honesty to the tracks.

A lot of Butler’s most popular songs (Funky Tonight, Better Than, Zebra, etc.) are driven by catchy choruses, and while there isn’t a great deal of that here, we see it work its way through in tracks like lead single ‘Only One,’ which has already been winning over fans of the John Butler Trio, and ‘Devil Woman,’ the shortest, most energetic track on the record.

With a title like ‘Young and Wild,’ you’d expect a sort of energetic, party song, such as April Uprising’s ‘Close To You.’ Funnily enough, however, this track is the most stripped back and cathartic of the record. Singing again of lost love, you’ll find Butler’s melodic vocals to be beautiful, with the light violin and female harmonies in the background turning this song in to something is truly haunting.

Conclusion

This is a record that is bound to be well received by John Butler Trio fans. It has enough here to feel completely familiar, while also treading enough new ground to feel wildly different. The John Butler Trio have once again delivered the goods.

Tracklisting

  1.  Spring To Come
  2. Livin’ In The City
  3. Cold Wind
  4. Bullet Girl
  5. Devil Woman
  6. Blame It On Me
  7. Only One
  8. Young And Wild
  9. Wings Are Wide
  10. How You Sleep At Night
  11. You’re Free

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