CD Reviews

Iron Bridge Band - 'Road Not Taken' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 24, 2014    
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An album I will certainly come back to many times in the future.

Any album with a rocking seventies vibe full of catch songs and great performances will always catch the attention, but the attention on this particular release is magnified by the presence of vocalist Chandler Mogel (Outloud, Talon, Dangered Ace).

The New Jersey based band were actually formed by high school and college friends Stephen Walsh (guitar) and Scott Suky (drums) in 2010 after they reconnected after twenty-odd years of separation. Scott's wife Lanie was drafted in as bassist, and Chandler Mogel enlisted as vocalist, and the band began writing in earnest. An EP titled 'Unbroken' appeared in 2011, and now 2013 sees the release of their full debut 'Road Not Taken'.

As previously stated, the music harks back to the glorious American sound of the seventies but without sounding dated, the hard hitting opener 'Thunder In A Sacred Place' brings to mind classic Lynyrd Skynyrd with its Southern edge, while the rocking 'Best Wine', 'Smokin' Gun' and 'Once Beautiful (Love Like Rain)' and more laid-back numbers like 'Wildflower', 'Petticoat Road' and 'The Most Benevolent Wind' have a definite early Eagles feel, albeit without the wonderful harmony vocals. And though there are a fair few slower-tempo tracks, there is only one full-on ballad, but 'All Our Yesterdays' is a quite beautiful song with a subtle string backing to the wonderful mix of acoustic and electric guitars, and a stripped-back acoustic version is added at the end of the CD as a bonus.

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Chandler Mogel is blessed with a wonderfully soulful voice, but much of his previous work has delivered at the higher end of his impressive range. With IBB he has held back and keeps things on a pretty even keel, and to these ears has turned in his best vocal performance I have heard so far – no mean compliment. But it's guitarist Stephen Walsh that steals the show with some classy guitar work, giving the material the required fire when needed but without overplaying his hand. Any proof can be found in the albums' two instrumentals, the short-but sweet acoustic 'Miles To Go', and serene electric-driven 'Before I Sleep'.

The production is perfect for an independent release, proof of just what can be achieved on a limited budget. Sure, it's just a little bit 'Country' at times, but that's no bad thing in my book. An album I will certainly come back to many times in the future.

Ant Heeks

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