CD REVIEW: THE SOUTHERN RIVER BAND – Live At The Pleasuredome
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
From frontman Callum Kramer’s goonbag-driven intro into the Daddy Cool-meets-hair metal country-fried glory of hyper-catchy Pandora, The Southern River Band kick off their debut album – probably the best damn album ever to repeatedly name-drop Thornlie, in the Perth, Western Australia bogan belt – in unique yet familiar style.
Kramer has form – from sleaze rockers Thrust and Southside Cobras, through blues with Blue Shaddy and rootsy soul with Morgan Bain, he’s been around and dipped his toe into many murky pools (some murkier than others) – but SRB is his baby, and don’t let his motormouth bogan messiah persona fool you: he’s a talented guitarist, drummer, singer and songwriter, and his crew have got the skills to pay the bills.
Live At The Pleasuredome was recorded quickly on the smell of a few empty beer bottle tops, but producers Dan Carroll and Kramer have done a superb job making it sound light, vibrant, warm and deadest classy.
Chasing After Love (‘ll Burn A Hole In Your Shoes) has what it takes, whether you’re amping up before a big Saturday night, or coming down when the sun peeks over the horizon on Sunday morning as you’re walking home with a clutch of new misadventures tucked under your belt.
Through The Forest And The Lakes is possibly the only coming of age heartbreak song set to the backdrop of Forrest Lakes Drive, and not since the heady days of Dave Warner’s From The Suburbs has anyone written so autobiographically and appropriately about suburban life in Perth. (I’ll be damned if the band aren’t sponsored by Lakers Tavern too, the amount of mentions they get!)
For all its budgetary constraints, there are some real flourishes here that lift the game a few notches: Let It Ride is heads down boogie drenched in rich and warm organ; Summer Song could be Status Quo with a country edge (and when Kramer sings “I’ve got a feeling she won’t be home tonight,” you know he’s lived it); Little While marries a country thang to a hair metal anthem – though more Tesla than Bon Jovi, thank goodness; Coming Home sounds like Kid Rock fronting an unplugged Whitesnake – and that Kid Rock comparison is actually not far wrong.
These may be Kramer’s songs, driven by his vision and ‘instant Rockstar – just add beer’ personality, but it takes a tight bunch to do this much justice to any music, and old foil Anton Dindar on bass, guitarist Jason Caniglia and drummer Carlo Romeo are the right team for the job.
To wrap up this debut platter, Two Times The Fool goes down the Lynyrd Skynyrd-meets-Motown rabbithole, featuring an epic guitar solo and some soulful backing vocals that you just don’t hear in modern music very often, if at all. It’s testament to the eclectic melting pot of influences that these cats are drawing from.
Live At The Pleasuredome is low on thrills but high on rock n’ roll – great songs, great attitude, great playing, great production – if you have all that you don’t need a $50 grand budget. As anyone who sees them can attest, SRB have a habit of quickly becoming your new favourite band. Let’s hope they can rustle up a few more beer caps for a follow-up sooner rather than later.
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About the Author: Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE