FINE LINES – Gaslight Roses (Parade PARCD009)

Gaslight RosesSix-piece Americana roots rockers from Cheshire, Gaslight Roses is Fine Lines’ second-full length album, co-produced by Merry Hell’s John Kettle (who also contributes guitar and bass) and band frontman David Boardman who writes the material, either solo or in tandem with drummer Mark Radcliffe (yes, the BBC one).

With its opening track, ‘On The Town’, the album sets up its stall on the backlot of radio friendly 70s alt-country in the manner of early Eagles, proceeding to encourage the tapping of toes and line-dancing with ‘Meet Me At Kiki’s’, Radcliffe laying down a steady beat, Boardman backed up by Emily Doggett’s fiddle and Zoe Blythe’s harmonies on the catchy chorus with Gary O’Brien providing the piano runs.

It takes a lot of balls to almost share the title of one of your songs with Kris Kristofferson, though they do add in the gs and a comma for ‘Sunday Morning, Coming Down’, but their five-minute plus slow paced, swelling bonds of brotherhood, day of reckoning piano ballad, O’Brien on Hammond and Chris Lee on pedal steel, pulls it off with aplomb.

The tempo kicks back up a notch again on another hooks-friendly number, ‘Sway’ before Blythe takes over lead on ‘Paradise (Here & Now)’ which opens on simple piano and fiddle before erupting into Celtic-infused driving folk rock.

In need of a breather, it’s back to a slow honky tonk sway as Boardman offers to ‘Buy The World A Drink’, pedal steel behind the bar as the piano player lubricates the emotional ache as, Blythe harmonising, he sings how “Sometimes I’m colourblind/Sometimes I just see red”.

Unexpectedly, the Rolling Stones put in an appearance with the Richards-riff bluesy swagger of ‘Begging You’, Blythe taking lead on a track that featured on last year’s Forget About You EP. The rock influences are also up front and in your face with ‘No Shangri La’, although here, surging on a driving organ and hammering drums, hey hark more to the legs-shaking sound of vintage rock n roll.

It’s sandwiched between the more laid back, organ-drenched country soulfulness of ‘You & I’ and, sung by Blythe accompanied by dobro, the simple bittersweet (“My money’s all gone/But my heart is not empty”) New Year’s Eve waltz of ‘Something About You’.

They play out on a similarly relaxed note with fiddle leading off ‘My Time Again’, another Celtic barroom sing and swayalong, ending with another EP track, the dance floor end of the night shuffle ‘Who Do You Love’ co-written with Craig White and with Ben Beer on piano.

Sometimes, faced with a deluge of releases from top line emergent Americana talent from the US and Canada, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the stars shining in our own backyard. This is an excellent reminder why we shouldn’t.

Mike Davies

Artists’ website:

‘On The Town’ – official video: