Garage rock meets delta blues. The sound of the south….of France?

If you were to play a game of “guess where they’re from”, then it’s doubtful that you’d pick Blackbird Hill as being from Bordeaux.

The south of America, yes. Some Texas delta maybe but not southern France.

And that suits them just fine, because on “Midday Moonlight” they merrily set about confounding just about every expectation you might have for them.

The six tracker finds some imaginary parallel universe where The White Stripes were a full on blues band, and somehow manages to maintain the outright rawness of Garage Rock.

The pair – they only need Alexis on guitar and Max on drums – are rather like MV faves The Picturebooks in that they manage to find something primal in the sound that others do not. And even if BH are slightly more conventional (but then most bands are) there is the same kind of bleakness lurking just below the surface.

On the opener “Trigger Law” for example, they are “burying her in the back yard of my house”, before cutting loose on something that isn’t really blues at all. “Horseback Sight” is a little more gentle, perhaps, but the pair do have a fine gift for a dirty riff.

“Run Like Mad” is an almost perfect insight into what they do. It’s timeless, gleeful hi-jinks are rooted in the 1960s sounds, but you can’t help thinking if Jack White had done it, there would have been about 10,000 people in an arena somewhere screaming it’s key line “tell God he ain’t never gonna catch me.”

But the band’s ability to switch gear is their major plus point. The lengthy, psychedelic tinged “Stories From The Road” is a wonderful departure. Taking in delta blues and going where it pleases before a mighty crescendo.

Largely though, they do their business fast and furious and that’s just fine. “Hold Your Fire” is happy to fight anyone who looks at it sideways, and the title track would be just as happy in the Californian desert being sung by a band with beards who get called “stoner rock”.

They’ve already built up a following on their frequent trips around their homeland and into Belgium. On “Midnight Moonlight” however, Blackbird Hill sound rather like a band who is preparing to put in some serious miles.

Rating 8/10

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