Obviously you can’t really write objectively about something you are closely attached to but having made the decision to not re-join the ranks as the rallying cry ended their hiatus about a year ago, I am now able see everything from a different, outsider yet informed, view.
I always knew that there was a great band struggling to get out but as is always the way, sometimes it takes a certain alignment of persons, ideas, drive and a favourable wind for bands to find themselves leaving the choppy waters behind and facing an easier, more fulfilling, more enjoyable passage. I’m not saying I was the problem…well, maybe I was part of the problem, but the new crew made of old hands and experienced new recruits has seen Black Sheep Apprentice become everything it has always promised.
It is possible that the fire that raged inside of front man Skiddy’s songs burned a bit to fiercely to be properly controlled but now that wildfire has been replaced with a wonderfully harnessed intensity that retains the punk attitude but tempers the punk delivery and so moves them into the alt-country pastures they always claimed to be assailing. Raw, uncompromising and visceral, but country none the less.
And whilst it has always been the front man’s ship to steer, it is his current crew who have hoisted the sails. The backbeats are tighter, the guitar work more dynamic, the bass lines more pulsating and melodic and new songs and arrangements promise a broader musical palette.
Bravado and promises are all very well and good as long as you can deliver on them and at that point they cease to be necessary anyway as the music can then do the talking. This is exactly where their new expedition casts off. Bon voyage my friends.