Flesh and Blood is the latest release from the new incarnation of the John Butler Trio, and their sixth album to date takes on a lot more of a different direction to their previous releases. One of the main catalysts behind this move was bringing in Jan Skubiszewski to produce the record. Jan is Owl Eyes’ longtime collaborator and is the man to work with in Australia for electronic music and production.
Opening with the track ‘Spring to Come’, this album has many flavours to it, and I’ll say this: not everyone from the get go will enjoy this record. Having listened to this record many times over the past two weeks it does, like any good album or book, take a while to get into and thus you should indulge and give it a few listens before drawing judgement. The vocal harmonies at the end of the track are warm and a welcome introduction to the record.
Without a doubt my favourite track is ‘Livin’ in the City’; the electric guitar combined with the hip hop beat on the drum kit makes it a pleasurable listen. When I first heard these tracks at QMF 2013, I was a little sceptical about whether the live tracks would translate well to the studio session, because the live versions seemed a little too overdrawn. Yet, here is the record and it is a big step forward for the band.
New drummer Grant Gerathy makes one appearance on the album on the track How You Sleep At Night and it will be interesting to see how he fits into the band given the fantastic chemistry between Bomba, Luthiers and Butler. Check this disc and then go see them live, otherwise you’ll regret it.
Release: out now via Family Music
Written by Tex Miller