Friday, 19 February 2016

Reef cover Aretha Franklin on new single

True - this blog is called Punkalovich. True - I mostly write about punk and hardcore. However, every now and then I will just write about something I want to write about. Maybe a band close to my heart for whatever reason. Brit rockers Reef are precisely one of those bands.

Like many people of my generation, and actually a little bit older, I was blown away by Reef's Place Your Hands; a hard rock song with a gospel flavour. That Glow album was just my favourite record for ages. Their debut Replenish and the soulful Rides also got excessive play on my cd player back in the day and I also got to appreciate Getaway in its entirety quite a bit later in life. They've just always had something about them that I found refreshing yet also familiar at the same time. They're basically RHCP meets Black Crowes and I've always dug it.

Although still touring every so often and having side projects (front man Gary Stringer and bassist Jack Bessant's acoustic duo, StringerBessant, and their sister band, Them Is Me), Reef finally return with some new music, first single being a cover of Aretha Franklin's version of the Clara Ward penned gospel song, How I Got Over.

 I'll admit, I was not initially aware that this was a cover if it wasn't for reading a YouTube comment, so I had to look it up. This version is a tad less "gospel" in lyrical content as the original, omitting "Jesus" and "God" to make the song a little more relatable to all, but the musical structure is practically exactly the same. The real difference is Stringer's unique voice. It would have been nice for it to have been a lot more different but sometimes there are songs that don't need to be touched and just played as they are, which Reef do perfectly. It's the same with their I Just Walked In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) cover, although their cover of The Jam's That's Entertainment had more of a Reef bounce and their energy to it which makes it more interesting.

When looking at the YouTube comments, there are a few people saying that it's a "different direction" for Reef. I think these people may not have actually listened to them before. Even their biggest hits had a gospel feel. Judging by some of the other songs they have previewed in live shows (that I've seen online, as I haven't seen them live since 2010), they've got other material which sticks to a more stoner rock-like sound as heard on Replenish and parts of Glow. Being a hard rock band, they're always going to have that blues/soul influence in them. It is certainly interesting to hear how soulful a few white West Country blokes can be.

All in all, I am still stoked they are back and I will certainly be checking out the new album. The single will be released on 11th March, as will the Live at St. Ives album which features new songs Just Feel Love and Ball & Chain amongst a mostly Glow filled set.

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