“Phase II,” the new album from Joe Symes and The Loving Kind is a gigantic departure from their self-titled debut album and two acoustic EPs. It something akin to The Beatles evolving into Motorhead (but in a really, really good way!).
When Joe Symes and The Loving Kind play acoustic, that huge Liverpool sound shines through musically and vocally. Plug them in and crank it up, and it is as if a monstrous beast has been unleashed. The songs on “Phase II” have stadium rock written all over them. They are heavy, hard, crunchy and gritty in places, but Joe’s vocals are smooth as honey covering it all.
It’s easy to get lost in the heady, thunderous rock beats, silky harmonies and flowing melodies. With a hard rock sound in the vein of Van Halen, The Scorpions and even Black Sabbath, Joe Symes and The Loving Kind show they have the chops to stand up to the big boys.
The album was recorded in some top-notch studios, including Peter Gabriel’s Solid State Logic Studios, Oxfordshire; The Motor Museum, Liverpool; and Parr Street Studios, Liverpool. No doubt that helped put a very fine polish on the resulting tracks.
Forming the trio are Joe Symes on guitar, Colin White on drums and percussion, and Andy Cleary on bass. The band’s resume features some high-profile performances including headlining Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds Afterparty Show twice on the mainstage of the Liverpool O2 Academy, and also providing support for XTC, The Blockheads, Dodgy, Republica and more. It’s easy to see why upon listening to the music.
I’ve listened to each track new and broken it down with what grabs my ear in each one.
Here are my thoughts:
“Where Do We Go From Here” – The first track on the album, this cracker is heavy and hard-rocking, setting the tone for the other tracks.
“All of the Things We Said” – This track works well acoustic or electric because it has such well-blended harmonies and a super heavy bass line.
“Come to the Otherside” – This treasure is very hard rocking, with silky vocals and slick guitar solos.
“Blame It on Yourself” – Bright guitar work accentuates this energetic and lively track.
“Hopeful Hearts” – A true power ballad, the organ gives a Beatles touch to this introspective gem.
“Summer’s Almost Coming” – An interesting, atmospheric, guitar-driven rocker.
“Calling Out to You” – The heavy guitar, bouncy melody and great bass line are outstanding.
“Shine Tonight” – Intricate guitar work starts this tune and it gets harder and thicker as it goes.
“Fools Talking” – A bouncy track with a deep bass line and great blended harmonies.
“Turn Me On, Turn Me Out Tonight” – Perhaps the happiest, liveliest, brightest song on the album. It’s a joyous love song if ever I’ve heard one.
You can find Joe Symes and the Loving Kind on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/joesymesandthelovingkindUK/ , on their Website at http://www.joesymesandthelovingkind.co.uk/?fbclid=IwAR3mYGcR4tGJt8t-OzLoVW5PhIRjfkI6XhK1ZipxdjzH1vJzGo-QarP1Yqg and on Twitter at @JoeSymesandTLK .
For a review of the new album, watch this: https://vimeo.com/292371173?fbclid=IwAR2Tz23HirClqBYEa0xmtjhaJXjfOcYu4g9kPH-aI2LzXk542iXM23zjLUo
(Featured image by Simon J. Newbury Photography)