13 feb. 2013

The Dunwells - Blind Sighted Faith

by Jon O'Brien
Continuing Britain's recent fascination with Americana, five-piece Leeds outfit the Dunwells' debut album, Blind Sighted Faith, is an unashamedly retro affair which harks back to the early West Coast rock of Eagles and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Recorded in Willie Nelson's Austin studio and produced byJohn Porter (Ryan AdamsSantana), its 11 tracks show little evidence of the band's West Yorkshire roots, with only the rousing nu-folk of opener "I Could Be a King" and the title track, a shimmering U2-esque ode to perseverance, deviating from their classic rock intentions. Resolutely old-school it may be, particularly on the vintage blues of "Follow the Road" and the gospel-tinged ballad "Oh Lord," but it's a pastiche they mostly pull off with conviction. The band's impressive five-part harmonies soar as effortlessly as Fleet Foxes' on the lovelorn acoustics of "Only Me," "Hand That Feeds" is an infectious slice of soul-rock which combines swirling psychedelic organs with foot-stomping Motown beats, while the melodic AOR of "Goodnight Mr City" could quite easily have been a leftover from Hotel California. The slower numbers drift into mediocrity, while there's little here that can't be found among a thousand other less fortunate pub rock bands, but the band's obvious fondness for the '70s folk-rock era ensures Blind Sighted Faith is largely an authentic and affectionate homage.

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