Five years since their previous full length album, THIRTEEN STARS are giving their all with a new album titled Finest Ramshackle Jam. Eagerly anticipated for what seems like an eternity, the record is a masterpiece! It combines fantastic musicianship with fine production work and some new (yet old sounding) ideas, taking influence from some of the best in the business!
I originally thought I may have made a mistake by listening to the previously released single Give It Good, feeling as though the rest of the album may not live up to the single – how wrong I was!
The album opens with I’m Ready, easing you in with the steady, yet satisfying guitar riffs plucked straight from the 1980’s. Hoss Thompson’s vocals are something I’ve never had the pleasure of listening to previously and I feel like I’ve seriously missed out. With one of the catchiest choruses I’ve heard in a long time, I was singing my heart out by the end of the song. Next up, Running So Long. The pace is slowed down with a steady drum beat. The addition of the piano to this track is great. The third track, Sweet Lies continues in the same fashion with some beautifully written lyrics, sung fantastically again by Thompson.
Continuing the record with Give It Good, bring the funk! Mike Reid’s bass work and Andy Bates’ drums on this track are second to none and I was grooving along as soon as the track begun. We are treated to another fantastically catchy chorus and awesome guitar licks. Sleeping and Sorcery follow, sounding a lot darker than their predecessors. Grittier vocals and heavier guitar riffs make for a well worked change in sound.
Track seven provides some country and western vibes with Be There In The Morning. This track screams class and proves THIRTEEN STARS can master any style they please. A fantastic change in pace, once again. I’d Do Anything gives us some soothing rhythms and feels almost like an intermission with its relaxing feel before we’re hit with the groovy, guitar fuelled, almost bluesy Mint Jelly. The trumpets and piano here are another example of how cool this band truly is. Another stint of relaxation is then provided with the foot tapping Rebel.
Southern rock style guitar work and a stylish rhythm is present throughout the hard-hitting Steel Horse. We are treated to some more thought provoking lyrics in the track Keep Calm and Carry On.
Back to the fast paced burning guitar rhythm with Razor’s Edge. This is head banging material at its finest. Then the penultimate track gives us some more funky rock jams with Break It Down Slowly.
As the album draws to a close, you will notice that the length of the final track, Soldier, is almost seven and a half minutes long. This is not by accident as it provides an epic and beautiful end to a perfect album. It opens with nearly two minutes of steel-string acoustic guitar and tubular bells, which makes you appreciate just how great these guys are – drama in musical form. The powerful instrumental to end the album provides some time to reflect on the masterpiece that has just been witnessed.
After an extremely lengthy album for today’s standard (fifteen tracks!), I was still wanting to hear more. This album has everything you could hope for and has been provided with such class and style. There are moments in the album that should be headlining festivals, while there are other moments that should be played driving along down a long, lonely road. I couldn’t rate this album any higher.
Words: Jack Andrews
Finest Ramshackle Jam will be out this Friday via Rock People Music.
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