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NIMMO BROTHERS Picking Up The Pieces
Armadillo ARMD 00027 (2009)

The Nimmo Brothers

Once you've heard 'Picking Up The Pieces' the phrase 'the best Texas band never to come out of Texas' would not go amiss. Perhaps the fact that the Nimmo Brothers hail from Scotland explains the quandary as to why they are one of the great undiscovered Rock/blues bands of our time. 'Picking Up The Pieces' is the kind of album that should quickly redress the balance.

This CD gloriously underlines all those reasons why their ardent fans have been extolling the band's praises for a number of years. From the opening riff driven 'All Because of You' onwards - the kind of song Storyville would love to have written - this is a rock blues avalanche that propels the band effortlessly through 10 outstanding tracks before finally finishing with a subtly crafted down-home acoustic end-piece.

The Brothers Nimmo Alan and Stevie are scintillating guitarists, emotive singers and excellent song writers. This is the Scottish outfit's fifth and best ever album and its full of crucial riffs, great solos, memorable hooks and a surprisingly high production standard that superbly captures the band's core dynamic. All ten tracks gloriously showcase a band with real substance and no little swagger, though it's a brooding confidence that is channelled appropriately into exciting new avenues.

Anyone who has seen this band will know The Nimmo Brothers are hardly likely to hide their light under a bushel and true to form they soar into overdrive squeezing out every possible spark and making each note tell throughout an inspired, well paced and thoughtfully sequenced album. And once they've suckered you into to a song like 'It's Not About You', they add that little bit extra, in this case a vicious guitar surge that gives the number an unbelievable sense of drive.

Indeed, it's that sense of restlessness and unfettered raw passionate brand of rocking blues that makes this album an essential purchase. There's a real sense of light and shade in the playing throughout all 10 tracks, while three heavy duty shuffles comfortable channel the band's raw power. The outstanding tracks are real gems, starting with the big drum sound and jet propelled intensity of "All Because of You" and the startling emotional vitriol of 'Nothing in Chicago For Free'.

The latter is a Texas style shuffle, with an impassioned Stevie Nimmo vocal performance and a huge guitar line that drives this juggernaut of a track towards its glorious conclusion.

But there's more as the Nimmo's surpass themselves with a poignant Little Feat influenced slice of Americana on 'A Better Day'. The song has an epic quality and is routed in the band's last US tour and conclusively proves them to be much more than a guitar driven powerhouse outfit in search of its own tail. And while 'Chicago' and 'A Better Day' are both heavy duty songs, the slide led 'Unfinished Business' might have been written with one eye on what's left of FM radio.

The Nimmo Brothers are simply one of the few bands that have all the key ingredient of real musical acumen, memorable songs and an unbridled burning passion for their rocking blues. The fact they have managed to effortlessly transfer their undoubted strengths into CD format makes them almost unique.

But subtle restraint and clever song writing aside, The Nimmo's can also rock out with the best of them. Listen to the guitar feast of 'Bring it On Home' and the slide led acoustic break and processed voice of 'In Too Deep'. Like the album as a whole it doesn't get much better than this.

*****

Review by Pete Feenstra

Best of 2009


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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