Stringer Bessant - Yard
Not content with churning out a barrage of lumpen Dad-rock, the likes of which would have made Paul Weller blush, the lads from Reef made sure of their place in the seventh circle of hell (CIRCLE #7.3.3 –‘Violence Against Art’) by consorting publically with the putrescent Chris Evans. Gurning, faux-metal lad culture personified it is incredible that anything could have emerged from the Reef wreckage unscathed but, lay down your slingshots, former members Gary Stringer and Jack Bessant have accepted Mission Impossible. There’s little evidence of their former crimes on Yard which represents a significantly stripped back, organic approach to music relying on little more than some sparkling acoustic guitars and their rich and soulful voices. It’s largely an assault on the territory occasionally occupied by Neil Young, even down to the unfettered use of his trademark mouth organ, but elsewhere, as they trade vocals, there’s a bit of grit thrown into the mix and one’s reminded of Kelly Jones’ forays into acoustic balladry. It is, to be fair, a complete break from their resolutely rock n roll past but, lyrically it’s pretty slim pickings and it remains to be seen whether the undeniable strength and richness of their vocal talents are enough to break a saturated market.