Kim Salmon and Spencer P. Jones – Runaways Review
Unfortunately, Novastream Music Oz has shut down. So, I’ll put a couple of the articles I wrote for it here because, well… I need more things to put on this blog.
When two veterans of the Australian rock ‘n’ roll scene get together to play gigs you expect raucous time. That’s exactly what punters got when Kim Salmon and Spencer P. Jones joined for a month-long residence at Melbourne’s Old Bar yearly last year. The Beasts of Bourbon band mates wrote brand new songs during this period and now have recorded them, along with an eclectic range of covers, for their album Runaways.
Runaways is an old school rhythm and blues album at heart, and simplicity is the key to many of the tracks. There’s no studio trickery here, no army of producers, just two mates and the hired help of a rhythm section.
Lead single ‘A bitter Projection’ kicks off the album with an example of the kind of rough and tumble music you can expect from the two, with a hook sung with a gruff yet playful manner. The other four songs written by Salmon and Jones cover as much of the rock ‘n’ roll spectrum as a band can in four tracks. ‘It’s All The Same’ is a rollicking blues track that is fun and doesn’t outstay its welcome, whereas the noise-laden ‘Loose Ends’ drags on a bit too long. ‘The Monkey’ is an instrumental slow jam featuring ‘Eagle and the Worm’ saxophonist Ross Beaton and ‘Scorched Earth Pearl’ sees the duo shift into country mode, driven by gritty slide guitar and a great slow tempo banjo riff that Mumford and Sons could learn from.
The covers on Runaways are as diverse a range of songs as you will see on an album, from Peggy Lee to The Stooges, Jeffery Lee Pierce to Kanye West, and the results are mostly positive. The pair gives the necessary grunt and rough edge to nail The Stooges ‘I Need Somebody’ and The Gun Club’s ‘Jack on Fire.’ Peggy Lee’s ‘Is That All There Is’ is given a fantastic foul-mouthed makeover with tales of debauchery and strange bald men. It’s akin to your drunken uncle reliving tales from his youth, then singing a Peggy Lee song. The closing track, The Only One’s ‘The Whole of the Law’ is a rambunctious ballad and makes for a strong finish to the album.
Not all the covers are complete winners, though. The pair’s version of Kanye West’s ‘Run Away’ is missing the epic scale of the original and Chester Burnett’s ‘I Asked for Water’ lurches onto the repetitive side.
Overall, the debut collaborative effort of Kim Salmon and Spencer P. Jones is a strong album. Jones’s renowned guitar playing skills and Salmon’s raw vocals make for an engaging slab of blues rock.