anytimejames coverHere’s a record that’s as unassuming as an undercover cop with agoraphobia in a grand final football crowd. You’ll only find a bare bones mention of it on the Internet because it buries rather than hides its bushel under a tree, but it’s superbly played and overflowing with easy rocking charm.

Anytime James is led by Michael Gibbons, once a member of Asteroid B612’s guitar arsenal in the early ‘90s and now living on the New South Wales Far North Coast. That’s about as far removed as you can get from the hard rocking pubs of Sydney’s northern beaches of 15 years ago, but then Gibbons is drawing inspiration from a wellspring that runs deeper than just Sydney via Detroit.

Recorded with a tight band that includes session guy Geoff Wright at Lucky Boy Analogue Studios at Byron Bay, “Anytime James” spans just eight songs that showcase Gibbons’ wonderful playing and dry vocals. Influences? The band references Bowie and Iggy in the bio but “Anytime James” more sounds like a cross between a Damien Lovelock solo album and the “Monkey Puzzle” era Saints. Throw in "Kill City", Mick Ronson and “Transformer” Lou and you’ve got it covered.

Opener “Tryn’ To Write a Love Song” tumbles out out the speakers like the streetwise mid-tempo blues rocker that it is. “Jonson Street Cakewalk” marries a laconic vocal to a killer sax riff with a withering guitar solo thrown in for good measure. “On Your Trail” ups the ante in the guitar stakes and sounds uncannily like the Celibate Rifles.

Gibbons sounds even more like Damien on the autobiographical blues-rocker “Wild Cat In The Night”. “Yoga Demon” is a hoary ’70s rocker with chunky chording and a dash off prog. “Going In Heavy” is a cautionary story against chasing the dragon and has the same Chicago Blues punch that Chris Bailey brought to bear on that first post-Kuepper Saints EP.

You can get it as a CD and a download for $A20. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.


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