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CD Review: The Borstal Boys S/T

It is said that many local music scenes, no matter where you live, are made up of about twenty-five musicians or so who make up about seventy-five percent of the music scene. Meaning, if you go out to see a cover band, you are most likely going to run into one of these omnipresent musicians. Even some of the Original Music bands contained within a scene will contain some of these musicians. This is very much the case for the band called The Borstal Boys.

The Borstal Boys is an Original Rock and Roll band that has roots within the Pittsburgh area. Each of the musicians that help to make up the group has a long history within the Pittsburgh music scene. Consisting of: Rocky Lamonde (Bass), Patrick Norman (Electric and Acoustic Guitar), Joe Pelesky (Organ and Vocal), Darryl Thumm (Guitar), Scott Wilson (Drums), Vinny Q (Guitar) and Mark Ponsonby (Lead Vocal), The Borstal Boys have stood on stages with the likes of Bill Toms and Hard Rain, Rusted Root and many other bands. Together, the musicians take the years of experience to create a new band that draws from that long history.

Taking all of their various musical influences such as The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, The Faces and more The Borstal Boys created their first album. The band’s self-titled album was released in 2018.

The first track on the self-titled release from The Borstal Boys is the track “My Everything”. With this track, the band breaks into some good, old-fashioned Rock and Roll. In fact, what the sound will most likely remind the listener of is something from Bruce Springsteen. Moreover, the song has more than a little bit of influence from The Boss’ music from around the time of the Born to Run era. “My Everything” from The Borstal Boys has more than just a little influence from Springsteen’s song called “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out”.  The track also has some Bob Seger influence to it, as well.

For the next track, the band seems to add some newer influences to the mixture. The track “Marlene Jane” features Rock and Roll that feels as if it came from the eighties. While there is still a good amount of Classic Rock influence to the track, the song also features a little New Wave and/or Alternative influence to the track. The majority of the track seems to contain some influence from John Mellencamp as the guitar-driven track is reminiscent of Mellencamp’s stuff from the eighties. The keyboards in the background of the song, however, seem to contain a much more modern influence to them. Because of the combination of the two directions at one time, “Marlene Jane” is a track that would easily fit well next to songs from the like of the Goo Goo Dolls or Gin Blossoms. The track would be right at home on any Modern Rock or Hot A/C radio format.

With the track “Head Full of Ghosts,” The Borstal Boys take their music back in time once again. The track is firmly placed in the middle of Classic Rock. As you listen to the track, you can easily imagine Power Trios like Cream adding some influence to the music of the band. But there also feels as if there is some Frank Zappa and the Mother of Invention influence present in the music, especially in the guitar playing on the track. For fans of straight-out Rock and Roll looking for that style today, you can’t do better than “Head Full of Ghosts” from The Borstal Boys.

Bringing their music back to a more modern sound, The Borstal Boys create the track “Green Light”. The slower-paced track features a strong guitar feel to the music. The music on the track brings to mind the feel of the music that came from The Black Crowes back in the nineties. This track by The Borstal Boys would feel right at home being played right after a track like “She Talks to Angels”. And with a playtime that exceeds the four-minute mark, “Green Light” ends up being one of the longer tracks on the album, although you really wouldn’t notice as the track flows rather smoothly during that playtime.

And speaking of angels, the very next track on the seven-song release is actually called “Fallen Angel”. And just like with “Green Light,” “Fallen Angel” has a slower pace to the music. While the previous tracks on the self-titled release from The Borstal Boys do not contain any religious meanings, the song “Fallen Angel” is full of heavenly imagery in the lyrics. Plus, the inclusion of the organ on the track also adds a bit of flavor to the track as well.

The Borstal Boys bring their 2018 self-titled release to a close with the track “G-Spot Blues”. The final track on the release finds the band creating an all-instrumental track. And with the fact that the song contains the title it does and the music is quite Progressive in its style of Rock and Roll, the Frank Zappa references are sort of difficult to miss. The completely instrumental feel to the music on this track gives the listener a clear glimpse at the talent of each of the members of the band.

Where many bands and recording artists pay attention to only the newest rends in music, it is great to find those bands that still incorporate real Rock and Roll feeling into their sound. The Borstal Boys have created a strong seven-song release that stays fresh throughout as they create songs that make use of that Classic Rock style.  

 

For more information, check out the band’s record label The Vault Records

To hear the music of The Borstal Boys, check out their song “Head Full of Ghosts” 

To hear the entire self-titled album from The Borstal Boys, find the band on Spotify

To purchase a copy of the self-titled album of the The Borstal Boys, click on the album cover below: 

 

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Ellery “Over Land, Over Sea”

It all began when husband and wife duo of Justin and Tasha Golden met each other while living in the Cincinnati area, many miles away from the same city where they had grown up-Akron, OH. The former Akronites met and fell in love and that was that. Soon, the duo created the musical outfit known as Dividing the Plunder. Nowadays, however, the duo performs together under the moniker of Ellery, a name they took from a book.

As Ellery, Justin and Tasha Golden have created original pop-rock music that revolves around Tasha’s piano and Justin’s guitars with Tasha taking care of the vocals. As the duo, Tasha and Justin have created several albums of music; although, the duo’s last album called This Isn’t Over Yet had been released back in 2010. But after taking some time off to explore the writer side of her personality and releasing the book entitled Once You Had Hands, Tasha Golden returned to composing lyrics for music and the duo called Ellery began creating a new release. The newest EP from Ellery is entitled Over Land, Over Sea.

While seven years have passed since the last album from Ellery, the new release entitled Over Land, Over Sea finds the duo in very familiar territory, proving they have lost nothing in the seven years since the last release. And nowhere is that more evident than with the EP’s first track of “Sleep Well Goodnight”.

“Sleep Well Goodnight” features a laidback pace to the music as Tasha sings a song in the style of a lullaby. The overall feel of the track brings to mind previous songs from the duo’s catalog and in particular, the track is rather reminiscent of the duo’s song “Christopher” which appears on the duo’s This Isn’t Over Yet release. While many of the tracks created by the husband and wife team feature one or the other of the duo on the music, this track finds both the guitar and the keyboard sharing the spotlight in the song equally. As the first track the first release in seven years from Ellery, “Sleep Well Goodnight” eases the listener back into the style of the duo’s music.

With the next track of the release, Justin and Tasha increase the energy level in their music. With “Tennessee Whiskey (Hallelujah),” the music of Ellery changes from a low-key Pop/Rock style to more of an Indie Rock sound with slightly more energy. The increased energy level on the track comes courtesy of Justin Golden’s electric guitar. That electric guitar and the more intense feel of Tasha’s keyboards creates one of the more rockin’ tracks on the Over Land, Over Sea EP.

On the next track of “I’m Done Waiting”, the duo takes their music in a more relaxed direction once again. In fact, with the inclusion of strings in the background, the track ends up being one of the more orchestrated tunes in the discography of Ellery. The track once again features a vocal approach from Tasha that adds to the rather laidback feel of the song. But because of the laidback feel of the music on the track, Tasha’s voice feels a lot clearer than on other songs from the duo.

Over Land, Over Sea from Ellery continues with the title track of the release. After the laidback feel of “I’m Done Waiting,” Tasha and Justin bring the energy level back up just a bit on “Over Land, Over Sea”. The result is a track that contains an Indie Rock feel. That musical approach comes from the electric guitar that feels just slightly out of tune, which adds to the Indie feel of the track as does the rather sparse feel to the minimalistic music on the track. “Over Land, Over Sea” is one of the more unique songs from the duo as it sets itself apart from the other tracks on the EP.

Justin and Tasha Golden bring their new EP to a close with the track “Do Your Worst”. As with songs like “Songs For Lovers” off of the duo’s Lying release, “Do Your Worst” finds the duo once again drawing musical inspiration from the likes of Sarah McLachlin. “Do Your Worst” contains a sound and feel to the music that brings to mind a few of McLachlin’s songs with the low-key approach of the music making the track very relaxed. With that relaxed feel, “Do Your Worst” brings the Over Land, Over Sea EP from Ellery to a close on a gentle note.

The new release of Over Land, Over Sea from Ellery is a five-song EP that finds the duo of Justin and Tasha Golden picking up right where they left off back in 2010. The tracks that belong to the newest release from the duo contain much the same musical approach as the duo’s previous releases. That familiarity will ensure that the musical outfit’s fans will enjoy the new EP. If you are familiar with the music of Ellery, you need to catch up with what is new with the duo. If you have yet to discover the magic that is found within the duo’s music, this EP is the perfect way to introduce yourself to Ellery.

To check out the music of Ellery, click on the link for the video to the band’s submission to the NPR Tiny Desk Contest called “Tennessee Whiskey”.

Events in the near past resulted in the duo of Justin and Tasha Golden re-releasing one of their songs. As a result of the #MeToo campaign, the duo was asked about “You Did Everything Right,” a very apropos song written by Tasha Golden around actual events in her own background that took place that happened to be related to the #MeToo situation. To view the live version of the song “You Did Everything Right,” click HERE

 

To purchase a copy of Over Land, Over Sea from Ellery, click on the album cover below: