With their debut, self-titled release, The No Refund Band gives the listener no reason to ask for their money back, featuring an album full of a myriad of influences from Latin based rock, edgy Rock ‘N’ Roll, traditional blues and even a touch of pop. Throughout the entire release, the band sounds like a band that knows each other well and really enjoys playing with each other. With every band member fulfilling his role, the finished product has a certain togetherness that is lacking in many other groups.
The album starts off with a classic, funk-driven tune “Blues is My Business.” It’s a perfect opener, featuring outstanding guitar work, soulful B3, a funky bass line, edgy vocals, classic guitar and tight horn arrangements that provide a nice finishing touch on the tune. The only complaint on that tune is that the horn backgrounds are written too low during the guitar solo, causing them to be muddy and hard to distinguish from the rest of the band. “Come Down Slow” is a nice Santana inspired tune that is one of the better songs on the album. “Eleanor Rigby” is an interesting take on the classic Beatles hit, that the listener is sure to either love or hate. It’s a psychedelic rock feel with a gorgeous trumpet solo, good string arrangements and lots of reverb on the vocals. It is a significant departure from the original tune, but a very interesting take. Acoustic blues aficionados will appreciate “One More Drink,” which features Ricky Jacksons’ edgy vocals along with some nice acoustic guitar work. The album also includes a couple of very pretty pop ballads in “Fall Again” and “Soul Shine” which provide some nice variety to the album. “Spain Prelude” is a nice acoustic guitar and trumpet feature that leads nicely into a humorous tune in “Never Been to Spain.” There isn’t a bad tune on the album.
The bottom line is that this is a true band. The album features plenty of guitar, but, unlike so many blues recordings, the guitar doesn’t dominate the album. Rather, it sits in very nice harmony with the rest of the instruments. The album is also quite eclectic, and provides a nice mix of just about anything a blues listener would want: psychedelic and Latin based rock, blues, acoustic music, edgy rock, easy-going pop and humorous lyrics. While the band isn’t about to change the world with their sound, you won’t be sorry you gave them a chance, and you sure as hell won’t be asking for a refund.
The Review: 8/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
- Come Down Slow
- Eleanor Rigby
- Soul Shine
- Spain Prelude/Never Been to Spain
The Big Hit
- Soul Shine
Review by Nik Rodewald