Review: Virgil & The Accelerators – The Radium

Posted on: Tuesday, Dec 13, 2011

Virgil & The Accelerators The Radium Cover

“The Radium”
(Mystic Records MYSCD205)

Virgil & The Accelerators are a trio comprising Virgil McMahon on vocals and guitar, his brother, Gabriel, on drums and Jack Timmis on bass guitar and keyboards. The title of the album refers to The Radium Beer Hall in South Africa where the very young Virgil witnessed his father playing the blues. By the age of nine, he was already showing considerable promise as he emulated the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. At the age of twelve, he was invited to jam with Otis Grand and earned himself a standing ovation.

The Radium contains eleven original tracks, starting with “Working Man”, which develops after a gentle opening into heavy-beating blues-rock, complete with the first of many blistering guitar solos. “Refuse To Believe” and “Backstabber” owe a debt to The Rolling Stones, providing shades of “Jumping Jack Flash” and “Brown Sugar” respectively. The slow and bluesy “88” provides a breather before “Racing With Life” picks up the pace with another impressive helping of guitar-based pyrotechnics.

“The Storm” is an instrumental, which projects a heavier feel in line with its title while “Low And Dirty” and “Bad Girl” return to the blues-rock idiom, the former delivering a Jon Amor-influenced ambience in its predominant, underlying riff. The slow and plaintive “Fell To The Floor” is superbly underpinned by the excellent rhythm section and “Cold Hearted Woman” is a fast-moving rocker, boasting a wah-wah drenched guitar solo. The album closes with the beautifully played “Silver Giver”, a Hoax-like instrumental – although, at nearly nine minutes’ duration, it is perhaps a shade long and slightly self-indulgent.

This is a splendid album by a highly accomplished young trio. In particular, at nineteen years of age, Virgil McMahon is a supremely talented guitarist and, unlike so many young guitar slingers, also delivers very effective vocals. Make no mistake, this is a band destined for wide acclaim and the album fully endorses that judgment.

The Band’s Website

Lionel Ross

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