Any Road – Isle Of Wight Bound – ‘The Highwayman’ In Review.
Any Road formed in 2011 and depending on what way you look at it, have had an interesting story. Stylistic and directional changes as well as numerous line-up changes, mean the band haven’t had it easy.
Similarly to myself and the founders of Musically Fresh, Any Road are natives to the Isle Of Wight, just off the the south coast of England. The Island’s music scene is somewhat enigmatic, inconsistent and incoherent, which often makes it difficult for bands and scenes to flourish. Yet, at the same time, it’s a constant scene with new bands springing up all the time, the IOW has seen Punk, Metalcore, Hardcore, Indie and many other variations spring up over the years, showcasing some real talent.
I can safely corroborate the state of flux the IOW scene has and it’s difficulties faced but I can also testify to the positives. Enter, Any Road and their debut album.
‘Going Home’ (that was quick) is the opening number. There’s some Motorhead influence on the vocals on this one. Gruff and plain, they contrast well with a mid-tempo Alternative Rock rhythm base, with it’s Classic Rock conditioning and melodic Punk guitar (wait for it) melodies in the chorus. It’s nothing new, but it’s nothing bad either. Plus, there’s a guitar solo, obviously.
You could say track two sits somewhere between ACDC, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, you could. Of course, I’m not telling you what to think, so decide for yourself while you take in the strained yet impressive reach of the vocals, the tight nature of the music and the oh-so satisfying guitar solos, but remember, I’m not telling you what to think.
Three, ‘Fly’, is the happy-go-lucky up-beat Classic Rock number you were waiting for, the emphasis on an American accent is a bit much however, but don’t get me wrong, it works within the context of the song. However, once more the lead guitar work throws a spanner in criticism’s works.
‘Gamblin Man’ hits you with a very strong flavour of American Southern Rock, it takes the tempo down a bit with it’s build-up structure but keeps you enthralled with it’s tale of a man’s temptation to throw it all away. It’s a satisfying number and really cements the vocal style for any of those like myself who found it somewhat cliche to begin with.
‘The opening notes of ‘The Drifter’ and it’s dulcet acoustic notes excited me immediately. The band had already proved high-octane Rock n’ Roll and jagged Hard Rock were in their repertoire but an almost dark and contemplative instrumental number wasn’t expected.
‘Old Days’ amps up the aggression with a very Brian Johnson vocalisation and a harder, darker tone on it’s musical backing. It’s a stark contrast between the last track, and even hints at a slight Metal influence before it gives way to ‘Blackjack’, which breaks in hard Blues-Rock maintaining the drive from the previous track.
The bass-line in particular holds down the track before, you guessed it, more excellent guitar work.
The final two, ‘Shot Of Whiskey’ and ‘The Highwayman’ both bring a welcome dose of Motorhead n’ Roll to the table, which both produced a welcome smile and a sad reminisce to the lost God of a man that was Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister. Rest well mate.
‘The Highwayman’ has the hard job of both being the title-track, as well as closing what has so far been a stellar album, and the way it does this is possibly the finest moment of this release, and that is coming from a reviewer that personally isn’t keen on this vein of Rock n’ Roll.
From about 1:40 onwards, the band gel as musicians, each putting in a long winded but oh-so well put together instrumental barrage that really shows them off as individually and collectively as musicians. Listen below, then find Any Road via the links below that.
- For updates and general Rock n’ Roll, find Any Road on Facebook.
- The bands music can be found for streaming on SoundCloud and Spotify.
- If you’re sold on what you have heard and read then head to their bandcamp and iTunes for music and gigs for hard copies!