Those Damn Crows have travelled some distance since the summer of 2018 when they opened up the Ramblin’ Man festival. Their set that day, coming onstage at the decidedly un-rock ‘n roll time of midday, was well received, suggesting here was a band who might well go on to achieve something, and they seem to have done this with the release of albums like Inhale/Exhale, the follow-on to 2020’s Point Of No Return, an album which saw the Crows reach #14 in the album charts.
The new album, according to frontman Shaun Greenhall, Talks openly and honestly about how we react to our life’s surroundings and influences.” Be that as it may, the album title derives from Greenall’s assertion about how we inhale and exhale can literally change how we feel at that moment.
The Crows aren’t a full-on in-your-face rock band. They’re a guitar-based band who play hard rock but with a melodic bent, similar to bands like Thin Lizzy or Wishbone Ash. They play songs which pack a considerable ‘heft,’ songs which are catchy and interesting with good musicianship all the way through, and with lyrics which say something, such as on tracks like ‘Wake Up (Sleepwalker)’, which tells us it’s time to get our heads out of the mobile phones and take a look at what’s happening all around us, and ‘I Am’, with lines like ‘Now we’re failing by the hour, with all the lunatics in power.’
‘Fill The Void’ starts proceedings and is an energetic opening number, a driving tune which is a fine way to introduce their new music. They raise the ante with ‘Man On Fire’, a potent rocker which could easily become an onstage favourite. The pace slows slightly with ‘Waiting For Me’ and ‘This Time I’m Ready’ before resuming its normal course with ‘Lay It All On Me’ and ‘Find A Way’, possibly the best track on the album.
All the way through, this is an album of controlled power with hardly anything in the way of extended noodling or excessive soloing. In fact, it only dawned on me towards the end of the album, listening the first time around, there were no solos of any kind. The emphasis is on the song and its delivery, rather than with musos filling the space demonstrating their craft, leaving them space to improvise onstage.
Overall, this is a fine album which could see Those Damn Crows spreading their damn wings further and if you’re a fan of bands like Thunder and Alter Bridge, it’s an album that will likely appeal to you.
Inhale/Exhale is available now!