Blood Line Heart
Kurt Shanks was a member of Stellar* and here he shows his songwriting chops, playing with a nice straight bat. These are pop songs that might wish to be compared to Paul Kelly’s work.
And if they fall short of the mark there, then there is certainly some similarity – some familiarity – to the work of Greg Johnson.
Shanks is best when he’s pushing out the ballads, a gentle coo, a heartfelt lyric, a deceptively simple tune that holds its weight, that waits its turn to share a trick or two to show that it’s more than just a song-sketch.
He’s joined in his quest to push perfect pop pieces into place by Mark Hughes (bass), Andrew Thorne (guitar) and Wayne Bell (drums). Safe hands, all of them.
The album stumbles, once or twice, when the tempo lifts – the rock tunes seem to have ideas above their station; they don’t quite fire, but the slower, gentler tunes are captivating. The heart-on-sleeve writing is believable and engaging. And I like that this debut long-player doesn’t feel like a desperate attempt to hit it out of the park.