UK based guitarist Danny Bryant returns with his seventh studio album, Hurricane, an album as passionate as it is firmly grounded in rock and roll. The craftsmanship on Hurricane really relies on the ground it covers. Too many traditional blues albums treat their various tracks as venues for varying guitar solos without really worrying about varying the sound of each song, and Bryant seems determined to avoid getting caught in the same rut many of his contemporaries do. On Hurricane, Bryant strives to make a lasting impression not only as a skilled guitar smith, but also as a competitive songwriter.
The intro to “All or Nothing” is a gothic-styled string arrangement which is completely atypical for someone with Bryant’s sound, opening the track with a particularly moody feeling that follows through the following four minutes. The verses also incorporate a brilliant synth riff that occupies the background space, albeit briefly. Perhaps Bryant is briefly channeling the new wave sounds of The Cars or giving a friendly nod to newer indie sounds (think buzzband supergroup Wolf Parade). “Prisoner of the Blues” essentially sounds like its title suggests it might – it’s dirty, gritty, and almost sloppy, but in a decidedly purposeful, technical way.
That being said, the album isn’t without its flaws. “Can’t Hold On” seems hopeful at first, but the dark piano intro eventually gives way to a cliché power anthem, complete with synth-styled guitar sounds and reverb-drenched cross-sticking that reminds me why I’m glad the ’80s are done and gone. After that the record hits the occasional lull, but there are really no other major offenses to report.
Bryant croons “Daybreak comes / and the same old blues” on “I’m Broken,” a fairly ironic line considering how much effort in Hurricane went to making sure it wasn’t indeed the same old blues. Bryant succeeds entirely in this endeavor too, and by mixing and matching skillful guitar work with emotive and moody melodies Bryant creates a record with enough diversity and enough traditionalism to satisfy any blues music enthusiast and enthrall any blues lover.
The Review: 8/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
-Prisoner of the Blues
-All or Nothing
The Big Hit
-Prisoner of the Blues
Review by Richard MacDougall