Album Reviews

The Brew – Control Review

the brew control_cover

Released by: Jazzhaus Records

Release Date: Out Now!!!

Genre: Classic Rock / Retro



The Brew:

Jason Barwick – Vocals / guitars

Tim Smith – Bass guitar / vocals

Kurt Smith – Drums and percussion








Fast Forward






Take a dash of Wolfmother, a pinch of Rival Sons, a dash of the Temperance Movement and you find in ‘The Brew’ a band in the right place at the right time given the current resurgence and interest in 70’s bluesy rock music. One look at their album and E.P covers show influences from Cream, Zeppelin and more. The artwork breathes psychedelia and the cover for the latest release (Studio album number four) contains that familiar paisley swirl from back in the day.

If timing and image is ticked off then all that remains is the quality of the music. When you mix the sound of the modern bands above and then remove a few decades and add The Who, The Byrds, The Zombies and even a bit of Traffic then you’ll see how The Brew fit neatly into that era of music. Jason Barwick’s vocal style is very reminiscent of Roger Daltrey or Colin Bluntstone (Zombies) and makes for a very energised performance.

Opening track, ‘Repeat’ takes the Rival Sons groove and delivers a wonderfully bluesy ballsy track that lingers in the mind with its “turn back, repeat” lyric being, well…., repeated constantly during the chorus.

Follow up; ‘Eject’ makes full use of Kurtis Smith’s drumming capabilities as he pounds away fully earning the descriptive “LOUD DRUMS” in the bands bio. By track 3 ‘Mute’ a quick look at the track listing of the 10 songs on offer confirm a clever concept. Everything relates to media playback (I’d love to say cassette playback but ‘Shuffle’ and ‘Skip’ were never easy on a TDK C90 tape) which is quite a feat whilst maintaining a very high quality of songs.

‘Mute’ blends elements of Cream, The Who and a little bit of the 90s Manchester scene (Charlatans, Oasis) on the harmonies of “I’ve got this feeling going on….” and it works very, very well. ‘Pause’ and ‘Shuffle’ add the swirling psychedelic element reminiscent of Kula Shaker (Steve Harris, who mixed the album, has worked with them before and his influence is noticeable here). ‘Fast forward’ highlights Tim Smith’s bass work underpinned again by Kurtis’ LOUD drumming style. A simple chorus “I’m gonna fast forward….’ similar to ‘Repeat’ means the song stays in the head long after it finished. ‘Skip’ is the one thing you should not do with track 7, it’s pulsing bass driven intro drawing the listener into a very mellow verse followed by (now typical) crunchy energetic chorus. It’s no surprise with that level of energy on show that The Brew have rapidly gone from playing small clubs to selling out thousand capacity venues throughout Europe including Spain, Poland and Germany.

Producer Toby Jepson (of Little Angels fame) has done an excellent job in giving the album a raw energetic feel. On ‘Stop’ when the band do manage to dial it down a notch to show their softer side, echoes of Little Angels tracks such as ‘Womankind’ and “Sail away’ shine through as well.

‘Play’ turns everything back up to 10 with a wall of sound and some wonderful soloing from Barwick.

Album closer ‘Rewind’ completes the media playback analogies and again paints an image of a young Daltrey singing classic Who tunes. If indeed The Who had released Control instead of (the patchy) Endless Wire back in 2006, it would have sold millions and kicked off this resurgence in quality 60’s / 70’s music five years earlier. We can only hope the same can be said for The Brew. This should be their time.

The Brew are announcing new European shows which will include a UK tour in the spring of 2014.


Written by Adrian

Ratings    Adrian    10/10

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