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The Teskey Brothers - Run Home Slow (Album Review)

Thursday, 08 August 2019 Written by Simon Ramsay

This Australian outfit has come a long way since the release of ‘Half Mile Harvest’ in 2017. Prior to the arrival of that debut they were an unknown proposition, but its classic blend of American soul and blues cultivated a healthy audience around the globe and received significant critical praise to boot. As such, expectations are high for this follow up. In almost effortlessly exceeding them, ‘Run Home Slow’ confidently takes the band’s retro aesthetic in new directions without sacrificing any of its charm. 

Inspired by everyone from Otis Redding and Wilson Picket to Peter Green and Neil Young, the self-produced ‘Half Mile Harvest’ was affluent with old school musical values, treating listeners to a refreshingly unhurried and intimate meditation on love’s bittersweet dance. Built around Josh Teskey’s Curtis Mayfield croon, his brother Sam’s unflashy blues licks and the Muscle Shoals grooves of bassist Brendon Love and drummer Liam Gough, its classic textures—including tastefully deployed Stax-style instrumentation—were captured at Sam’s home studio using vintage equipment and analogue techniques.

Although it would have been easy to repeat that formula, this sophomore effort is more expansive and sonically detailed, showcasing lovingly crafted songs that are more worldly than the compositions on ‘Half Mile Harvest.’ 

Recorded in much the same way, only with experienced producer Paul Butler (Michael Kiwanuka) occupying the hot seat, these songs aren’t as genre specific as past cuts, with the quartet utilising a smorgasbord of stylistic flourishes and instrumental colours to enrich each soulful number.

Man Of The Universe is a part jazz, part R&B ditty boasting perky melodic horn flurries, That Bird offers spiritual Americana introspection and dreamy pedal steel work, while Let Me Let You Down and Carry You skilfully incorporate swooning strings, liquor-smooth backing vocals and twinkling keys.  

Best of all, though, is Paint My Heart. With nods to Joe Cocker’s A Little Help From My Friends, early Tom Waits and Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’, it’s a wonderfully evocative composition featuring melancholic horns and sung with hypnotic passion. Josh’s vocals have been let off the leash on this album. More weathered and rasping, he may occasionally favour unrestrained primal expression over clear articulation, but overall turns in a powerhouse performance full of heart-on-sleeve conviction.

With increased diversity to the fore, there are interesting departures too.  Sun Come Ease Me In rides on a magic carpet of 1960s psychedelia and So Caught Up On You dishes up retro pop-soul with a funky modern twist a la Mark Ronson. Elsewhere, instrumentation is mostly stripped away on blue collar gospel rouser Hold Me, its testifying beat stomped on floorboards beneath spine tingling a cappella harmonies. Only the 30s Dixieland jazz of Sunshine Baby feels like a misstep. Despite being an excellent composition, it’s just too much of a pastiche and, as a result, is the one time the band fail to imbue a song with their own identity.

Centred on the complexities of forging and maintaining meaningful connections as youth gives way to adulthood, this overarching theme is suitably enhanced by the immediacy and inviting warmth bequeathed by analogue recording. Delivering the kind of organic emotional authenticity and directness you’ll never get from detached, pristine and sterile digital techniques, it’s little wonder people who are desperate to experience an honest and unvarnished form of artistic expression have embraced the Teskey Brothers. 

The Teskey Brothers Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue September 03 2019 - LONDON Jazz Cafe
Tue January 21 2020 - BRISTOL Trinity Centre
Wed January 22 2020 - BRIGHTON Brighton Concorde 2
Thu January 23 2020 - LONDON O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire
Sat January 25 2020 - DUBLIN Whelans
Sun January 26 2020 - MANCHESTER Manchester Gorilla
Mon January 27 2020 - GLASGOW Saint Luke's
Tue January 28 2020 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute2 Birmingham

Click here to compare & buy The Teskey Brothers Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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The Teskey Brothers Announce January Headline UK Tour In Support Of 'Run Home Slow'
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