A well-seasoned guitarist who’s been releasing albums for over two decades, Aynsley Lister’s songwriting remains as inspired as ever. Having sold over 100,000 albums and opened for legendary acts such as Jools Holland and John Mayall, the English blues-rocker has established himself as a legend of the scene. Now returning with his 8th studio album, Along For The Ride, Lister continues to deliver some of the gutsiest blues tunes around, with his 13-track LP combining his experienced writing and new anthemic sound to assemble an emotive masterpiece.
“Amazing” opens the album in a cynical manner, immediately presenting the disdain Lister holds towards the current bleak state of the world. A poetic jam which embraces all of his bluesy influences, the track addresses the constraints of social media and the internet, specifically its glorification and deception, which are berated with sincerity and a dash of sarcasm. Introducing the idea of failing to keep up, the title track, “Along For The Ride” tackles these concerns from a wiser, more experienced angle. An anthemic pop-rock track which features one of Lister’s most powerful vocal performances, the singer-songwriter initially struggles to come to terms with the process of aging, before finding the strength within his lungs to project a heartfelt chorus dedicated to embracing life’s trials and tribulations, no matter how arduous they may be.
Lister’s display of contempt for society resurfaces during tracks such as “Is This Really Happening Now” and “World Is Falling”, both inspired by the shocking nature of the outbreaking global pandemic. Employing a compressed mix to resemble the sheer chaos unfolding all around him, the former of these tracks is a groovy blues cut, whose despairing vocals and gritty guitar-work do an excellent job of capturing his discontent towards the selfishness and injustice which presented itself through the thoughtless acts of panic buying. Lister’s heartache also reveals itself through the desolate chords of “Bide Your Time”, a wearied track whose intense slide guitar helps reminisce back to a period of quality time between himself and his wife.
But despite its moments of sorrow, the intentions of Along For The Ride are to embrace life’s predicaments, and relish the moments of elation. “Cast A Light” undoubtedly reaffirms these views, with its mellow acoustic sound and themes of unity providing a powerful sense of hope during such challenging times. “Invincible” is another track abounding with reassurance, with Lister’s soothing vocals emanating a real sense of compassion as he comfortingly sings, “you’re not alone”. The penultimate “No One Else But You” delivers the purest track on the record, with its tender and passionate guitar solo capturing the comfort Lister finds within his loving relationship.
While generally established upon Lister’s prominent blues-rock style, the 2-part track “Eve” welcomes a fresh concept to Along For The Ride. Inspired by the relationship between Eve and Villanelle throughout the TV series ‘Killing Eve’, both tracks see Lister experiment with a mysterious ambiance, where the grandiosity of Part I in particular resembles the soundtrack of a spy movie. The shimmering theatrics of Part II closes the album on an epic note, with Lister’s bold creativity showing just how dynamic his songwriting truly is. A resounding album full of emotion and imposing guitar-work, Along For The Ride provides some of Aynsley Lister’s most visceral work to date, with help from producer Scott McKeon and his impressive band.
The Review: 9/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Is This Really Happening Now
– Eve Part I
– Along For The Ride
– Eve Part II: Love You To Death
The Big Hit
– Eve Part II: Love You To Death