South East UK-based rock outfit Elford, Davis and Baldini recently release The Real Story, an 11-track collection of songs flavored with elements of rock, protest folk, blues, funk, and dark lyricism.
Talking about the album, the band says, “We’ve tried to use the styles of classic guitar-based rock music with a focus on songwriting to say something about very contemporary issues, notably the Covid pandemic, Brexit, and the rise of populist conservatism – which we’re not too keen on. We have a different vision. But there are also love stories, dreams, escapism, and even a little religious satire.”
Made up of Keith Elford (lead vocals), Simon Davies (guitars, bass, keys, backing vocals), Major Baldini (drums, percussion, backing vocals), along with Annabelle Elford (backing vocals), Christina al-Wakil (trumpet and backing vocals), Josie Simmons (saxes), and Doug Lipinski (guitar), the band got together after playing in the project Keith Elford and the Weekend Kings.
According to the band, “The album was recorded almost entirely in lockdown, working remotely, which was a strange but addictive experience. More than half of the songs were written during lockdown in the UK and were fueled by anger and disbelief at the destructive fantasies which people seemed willing to buy in both Britain and the US – and at the disgraceful death toll in both countries.”
The Real Story commences with “The End Is Nigh,” opening on tolling bells segueing into an alt-rock melody riding a cool, tight rhythm and assertive platinum guitars, while Keith’s easy-to-listen-to voice imbues the lyrics with urgent tones.
Highlights on the album include “Cry of Despair,” vaguely reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen, rolling out bluesy rock savors harking back to the ‘80s and ‘90s. There’s a faint gospel roll to the harmonics, giving the tune a tantalizing, spiritual texture.
“Come Back Home” reminds me of Eric Clapton, traveling on a measured rhythm topped by gleaming guitars and evocative vocals. Whereas “Western Stretch” features country-rock dynamics, grinding guitars, and a definite tasty hoe-down mood.
“WWJD” features bluesy Southern rock relish, a driving, rambling flow, and sarcastic lyrics. “Take Back Control” rests on a funky blues-rock melody, accented by bright horn accents, and a contagious rhythm.
With its ‘80s rock tang, The Real Story summons up rousing rock chock-full of palpable energy, while simultaneously making a statement.