Excelsior and Some Worried Men

Patiently awaiting the school run to take a listen to Excelsior, this new album by The Worried Men, after witnessing them at a blinder down Devizes’ live music ever-faithful, The Southgate, as I strongly suspected it’d be best designated as “driving music.” You know the Eye of the Tiger, Holding out for a Hero sort, of which those two classics have probably been the cause of many a speed awareness course.

Thus, suspicions confirmed; I’m bossing the school run with shades, and right arm causally hanging from window like a cool rocking daddy! Careful to keep the speedometer to restrictions, mostly so I’d get enough time to digest as much of this timeless nugget of rock n roll as I could; my daughter will immediately switch the car’s Bluetooth for her own phone, and brand of contemporary pop……rock n roll philistine!

I couldn’t rightly keep the engine running so the music will continue pumping, through fear groupie-like MILFs might piggyback each other, waving their band T-shirts above their heads, and no kid need see that; their topless mum posted on TikToc outside their school gates. But it certainly hits that spot. I managed to get to six tracks in, an emotive and paced instrumental called Dangerous Vision, after a fairly eighties raunchy-rock inspired, mullet-feel first couple of tunes, which was unexpected. You know the sort, where the “soft metal” pigeonhole revitalised chart success for harder bands, to leave their stage makeup on the dresser and comeback commercially, yet full force. The foundational Aces & Eights does it with bells on, feelgood air-punching, riding an AC-DC wave from ‘86.

Despite they do this with certain finesse, going on the live performance I was expecting something more seventies prog, least electric blues, the latter of which I got the very next song, Blodwyn and three songs in, Meadow Stone is where it really kicks, frenzied ZZ Top fashion meets surf-rock. Two awesome instrumentals ticked, Manacle Alley stands out, again exemplifying the ZZ Top feel, it’s vocally superior and most experimental to-date.

But the further we descend into this showcase of frontman Jamie Tyler’s sublime guitar work, the deeper the rabbit hole goes. Oddly grammatical, The Cat That Walks By Themself notches towards the electric blues I was expecting, Gershwin-esque, with some breath-takingly soulful female guest vocals from Julie Richards. Nova is a nugget of wonderful, an almost flamenco guitar intro drifts into something heavier afterwards, as if Santana recorded Floyd’s The Wall.

Two more tunes in this tenfold treasure, and we are truly rocking again, the first comes like a sonic Quo at their finest hour, the finale mellows you, leaving your air-guitar moment aside, you’re mystified and inspired as the journey comes to an end. An end you can follow-up though, since formation in 1994, The Worried Men gig relentlessly on our local circuit, and the wealth of experience and talent is something to behold. I believe I said this of the Southgate gig, “Jamie holds an expression of concentration, occasionally looking up at you through these spellbinding Hendrix fashioned excursions, as if to ask ‘is that alright for you?’ Like a dentist with his tools stuck in your gum, you feel like responding, ‘yes, fine, thank you doctor.’” Well, this album does everything to compliment the live show, it’s a musical anaesthetic.

Though I’m unsure where to pick the album up from, usual Amazon and iTunes I believe, their website is here, they’re busy on Facebook, but I think as timeless as their music is, so too is their antiquated ethos, and the best place to pick this up is to ask them at a gig!


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