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Looking at the influences on the Sharpeezx will be a wet dream for any proud Blues and Rock fan – Rory Gallagher, Dr Feelgood, Tom Petty, George Thorogood and Free. Thankfully, the band have the chops to justify their bases.
The album was recorded on a Tuesday night in Hooley and they sound grooved and ready from the off. While the recording a little rough in spots they play with real verve and punch, sometimes veering into the path of frenetic but just as often building a massive groove along the familiar R&B lines.
The band came back together, after 20 off the road, in2003 and the current lineup is Bill Mead on guitar and vocals, Baz Payne on bass, Loz Netto on guitar/vocals and Brendan O’Neil (ex of Nine Below Zero) on drums. Add Brian Willoughby (Strawbs), Richard Hayes (Bad Influence) and Roger Cotton (Splinter Group) and you get a formidable line up.
One thing that strikes me – so soon after the passing of Deke Leonard – is how much their sound has in common with Man. The band seem to develop from a static base and just roam but not in a loose and sloppy way, more tight and together following O’Neil’s drums and Mead’s guitar lines. This feels like a band who are best playing live.
Other times you can clearly hear bands such as Petty and Dire Straits in their sound but they are no copyists – these songs are theirs and the playing stands alone.
There are a million bands around who claim the same influences and who try to play like their heroes but The Sharpeez take it to another place altogether. This is R&B as it should be – proud and original.
Can’t wait to catch them live sometime soon.