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7.5/10 Avi

BROMHAM, DEL - Nine Yards - CD - Angel Air Records - 2013

Del Bromham was (and possibly still is) the guitarist of Stray - a UK, hard rock band that emerged in the 1970s (you can read more about it in our review of the Stray release in issue #70). The material in this second, solo release is quite different from Stray's material, though. While it relies on similar, basic foundations of blues, it emphasizes them at the expense of the hard rock vibe and its wall of sound which was loaded with distortion and other effects.

The production is clean and minimalist, appropriately giving the songs a natural, unpolished feel, allowing the casual man lyrics to echo clearly on their way to the listener, and the guitar playing to be absorbed with all its subtleties (mostly these of Bromham picking). "Bills," for examples, showcases the strength of Bromham's performance: when he sings "Bills, bills, bills, / coming through my door. / So much paper, it's hard to see the floor" to a naked, blues styled guitar picking, you soon find yourself relating as this is pure authenticity (and one which could not have come from a rock star).

There is quite a variety when it comes to the blues rock styled approached here. "Walking Down The Road" relies on slide guitar playing, "Everybody Has To Sing The Blues" shares a common theme with Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," "Words" is a boogie rock song, "What Comes Around" is a duet piece (featuring Cherry Lee Mewis), and "You Don't Know How I Feel" is one of a few numbers here that puts rock back in the center of things (including a robust bass playing, also by Bromham, who plays all of the instruments here bar the drums, played by Stray's Karl Randall).

On "Smiling Face" and "Father And Daughter, Mother And Son" there is a monotonic keyboard line which does not quite belong with the gentle, blues themes, detracting a bit from the songs; but other than that Nine Yards is an honest album, filled with simple, low profiled songwriting, played from the heart to the heart. (7.5/10)


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