Freshly baked and impossible to resist
The Breadmakers - The Breadmakers (Soundflat Records)
The Breadmakers are a Melbourne institution in a town that has plenty of them. They’ve been peddling their authentic brand of rhythm and blues around the Victorian capital, its environs and various parts of the world since 1989, and their seventh album sounds as fresh as any of its six predecessors.
R&B. Everybody’s on the correct page regarding R&B, right? The term’s been appropriated by the global music machine in recent decades, and applied to bland, largely soul-less genre of soft pap that permeates the airwaves like an insidious virus.
R&B in its original “pure” sense presaged rock and roll. It was a form of popular music of US black origin that mixed blues with the rhythms of jazz. In white hands, it manifested itself in the Pretty Things, the Stones, Dr Feelgood and a million others, many of whom The Breadmakers draw inspiration from.
The Breadmakers' past includes membership of The Puritans, Bo-Weevils and Cracked Jaffers from Melbourne and The Unheard from Wollongong, and there's a degree of comfort in knowing their ethos of vintage music on vintage instruments through vintage amps means they're safely socially distanced from that "other" R&B crap.
"The Breadmakers" was recorded in a beach shack (because presumably no garage was available) by Mikey Young, the go-to man for most rising young Aussie underground bands. The connection was made eons ago via bassist Cadillac Slim's Corduroy Records pressing plant, for long a Melbourne hold-out against the march of digitalisation. This is The Breadies' first album in more than 10 years and only their second in 20.
What you get on "The Breadmakers" is what you expect: A dozen songs of driving, relentlessly rocking R&B blues, 10 of which are originals. The odd men out are both keepers - a superb “Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” originally released by Memphis teens Danny Burk & The Invaders and “Moonshine”, an Oz '60s punk classic by The Marksmen from Wollongong.
There's the odd moody brooder like "Swamped" but for the most part, "The Breadmakers" heads down the rave-up path. The Breadies used to release their music in glorious mono, but the aural upgrade to stereo hasn't prompted any other stylistic concessions. If you loved their earlier records, you'll jump onto this like a Coronavirus hoarder latches onto toilet paper.
Blacktop Brierely's shimmering guitar twang slips and slides around the keys of Gumbo Squires. Lazy Dik pitches his vocal in the vicinity of the pelvis in time-honored fashion, and the whole shebang is anchored masterfully, largely in the background, by drummer Bootpolish Lacey and Cadillac Slim.