Review: The Riotous Brothers – The Tree

Posted on: Friday, May 2, 2014

Riotous Bros CD Cover

The Riotous Brothers – The Tree

(Self-produced: RB003)

The Riotous Brothers are Mash Sonnet (guitar and vocals), Paul Long (keyboards, guitar and vocals), Mat Lake (bass) and Dirk Maggs (drums). They are supplemented on three tracks by Gaynor Ingram on backing vocals. The album contains ten original numbers, all written by Sonnet and Long.

The album opens with the upbeat rocker, “Now More Than Ever”, which offers a distinct taste of Brown Sugar. The lively mood is continued with some medium-paced RnB in the form of “Honey Not Vinegar” before the pace is eased by the slow and bluesy “Me And You”, complete with a cracking harmonica solo from Paul Jones – a fitting gesture in return for Paul Long’s sterling service as producer of the harpmeister’s BBC Radio 2 programme.

The slower tempo is maintained by the next two tracks, the swampy “Second Time Around”, enhanced by a fine guitar solo from bass player Mat Lake, and the slow blues, “Fever”, with Mash Sonnet’s vocals exhibiting a pleasing similarity to those of the impeccable Harry Skinner. Three ballads then ensue: the dreamy “Something’s Got To Change”, the bleak and remorseful “Cigarettes” and the sad and bluesy “Memory Of Our Love”.

After a deceptively laid-back introduction, Proving Too Hard” develops into a gritty, slow rocker with some impressive guitar and keyboard interplay over an insistently effective foundation from the rhythm section. Calmness is finally restored by the gentle ballad, “I Wanna Know”

This is a pleasant compilation, boasting a number of skilfully-crafted, well-performed original compositions. However, while the pun-based, tongue-in-cheek derivation of the band’s name is understood, the sedate ambience of the album renders it completely inappropriate.


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