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CHESTER KAMEN AND THE LOVES
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Well, I had no idea what to expect from this one by merely glancing at the cover. It yells of late-60s/early-70s Italian cinematic vibes, as if some collage of glimpses into an unspecified giallo. Perhaps a tribute to an undiscovered Sergio Martino work, with a soundtrack by Bruno Nicolai. Not at all, as it turns out. But I didnít really expect that, right. No, this is distinctly British in spirit and sound (ironic given the albumís title).

For those who are unaware who Chester Kamen is (like me), heís a guitarist whoís most certainly done the rounds - ďa legend in the professional fieldĒ according to the blurb - with (presumably session, live and/or recorded) work for Dave Gilmour, Bryan Ferry, Paul McCartney, Roger Waters, Massive Attack and Madonna. Heís joined by sticksman Steve Monti, a man whoís also notched up some impressive credits, including The Blockheads, Jesus and the Mary Chain, Wilko Johnson, the Cocteau Twins and Gary Numan. Vocalist Michael Cahill and bassist Steve Harley complete the quartet (or trio, I guess, alongside the bandís eponymous leader, if this is being billed as Chester Kamen and The Loves).

Musically, itís all about retro flavours but without ever really rooting itself in any one era. A bit of 70s, a touch of the 80s and some 90s ingredients combine in some no-frills, zero bullshit compositions that, while well-produced, carry a kind of raw, rough-and-ready vibe. This is emphasised by the low-key, unpolished guitar sounds of Kamen and the ever so slightly dissonant, grounded vocals of Cahill (reminiscent of B.A.Robertson, for some reason). Thereís certainly a punk-ish dimension to some of the music, but without it ever sounding like punk (from any era).

What this all boils down to is some very likeable, catchy, unpretentious tunes with some evidently accomplished, yet understated musicianship through performances that have been organically captured in an equally unpretentious, live sounding production. Certainly not a masterpiece from Kamen and his Loves, but a very enjoyable album, nonetheless.
LABEL:
FORMAT:
Stoney Records
Album
AMERICANIZED
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Review by Mark Holmes
RUNNING TIME:
54:24
RELEASE DATE:
3rd July 2020
TRACK LISTING
1) King of What Remains
2) Americanized
3) Do What Your Mama Told You
4) Fine Line
5) Don't Take It Easy
6) Dream Heart
7) No Place Like Home
8) Almost Done
9) It Gets Harder
10) Show Me; 11) That Kind of Love
12) Loving You
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
UK
"...itís all about retro flavours but without ever really rooting itself in any one era."
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