Butch Walker might be something of a new name to most of you and indeed me but since 2002 he’s recorded five studio albums, released a live DVD and been named producer of the year in 2005 by Rolling Stones Magazine for his various production work for all manner of big named, acclaimed acts such as Weezer, Fall Out Boy, Avril Lavigne and Katy Perry among others.
Here in the UK Butch has began to make inroads as a performer playing sold out gigs at the likes of the The Garage and Borderline as well as performing at last years Wireless Festival, reaching new audiences with his hook-laden, swaggering combination of power-pop and good time rock.
Now I maybe a little niave to Butch Walker’s previous output but I’ve gotta say right from the off that The Spade is a blast, an instant, infectious gem full of massive sing-a-long choruses, contagious melodies and strutting riffs. The other major notable thing about Butch Walker And The Black Widows is they actually sound like they’re having a blast in the studio, they’ve deliberately kept a few false starts and a bit of banter between tracks, giving the album a warm, raw and human feel to the album whilst most bands aim for the clinical clean approach.
Right from the off, Bodegas And Blast the band grab you by the lapels, hurl you to your feet and invite you out to the best, wildest party in town. Crashing riffs, addicitive beats, glorious harmonies and a stirring lead vocal combine to create the perfect introduction to Butch and the boys.
From here on in we’re treated to a rollercoaster of big pop hooks, high octane riffs and the catchiest choruses known to man, four minute pop rock anthems with the odd ballad, a honking harmonica, a bit of pedal steel guitar and even a touch of banjolin throw n in for good measure.
Everysinglebodyelse and Summer Of 89 are rollicking high octane rockers, the former featuring a delightful false ending and parping horns, whilst the latter contains the obligatory holler along whooohooo vocal refrain and tongue in cheek references to Kiss, Bryan Adams and cover bands playing Bad To The Bones. Both should be available on perscription or at least on day time radio, they’re feel good anthems that are completely impossible to resist.
Elsewhere Sweethhearts adds some sweet soul harmonies, Synthesizers adds honky tonk piano and fairground accordian to the proceedings, whilst Dublin Crow is a wonderful roots rocker complete with banjo, mandolin and dobro showcasing a very different but no less impressive side to the potent sound of Butch Walker And The Widows.
The Spade is a fabulous album from start to finish, either a brilliant party record or perhaps that early morning jolt to kick start your day, either way if you love rousing sing-a-long rock with massive pop sensibilities or perhaps just a nice radio friendly tune to hum along to, Butch and the boys have it covered.
Rhythm & Booze Rating 10