Days of Destiny on Moochee Records is a début album that is delivered with confidence and demonstrates the raw, natural talent of this power trio led by Mark Pontin with his distinctive vocals. This confidence belies the tension that is described in the notes on the long and winding journey that has eventually resulted in a CD any band would be proud of delivering; throughout the nine self-penned tracks Mark has retained the authenticity of the group’s live sound. The title track ‘Days of Destiny’ sets the tone with its driving guitar and bold vocals this is a power trio that has a story to tell you through music and words combining rock and blues to make a wholesome honest sound achieved by some excellent production by Mark Pontin and Tim Hamill, (who also plays the Hammond organ on some tracks).
There is no doubt that this album demonstrates the full range of Mark’s voice that can be warm, then gruff, stern and mellow depending on the context of the lyrics. The guitar solos are not the long meandering lead breaks that stretch out the length of a track but add nothing to the texture and tone of the music, every one of Mark’s solos are there for a reason and add to the whole musical experience as demonstrated on ‘Outcast’. However, stylish the guy up front is he is nothing without the rest of the band and the rhythm section are simply superb providing a stable platform of immaculate timing from the combo of Alun Walters (Bass) and Christopher Baglole (Drums & Backing Vocals) The influences are there to be spotted throughout the album, with gentle nods to styles and approaches, the ghosts of Stereophonics and Stevie Ray Vaughan are captured within ‘Just One More Day’; creating a Pontin sound that I am positive will soon be as recognisable. ‘Traffic Lights’, one of my favourite tracks, has Mark’s growling out the lyrics; whereas the other stand out track has to be the slow blues intro on ‘Fallen Down Again’ followed by another song of strong lyrics with the opening lines of “ When I needed rain, All I had was on the line, I asked for holy water, You gave me holy wine…” and throughout that lovely blues melancholic sound produced by the whole band. The surprise sound, I was not expecting a Hoax sound within the collection but here it was on the penultimate track‘Forever On the Run’; what a glorious sound Mark has produced with the combination of powerful lyrics, vocalisation and that driving guitar sound phew definitely goosebumps-up-the-back time.
This is a debut that sells the band and it is definitely worth making a trip to see them, the promotion from this project should see the band at gigs and festivals throughout UK and Europe; though this does mean that they will be playing less often in South Wales – our loss will be your gain! On every listening this album reveals a little bit more about Mark Pontin and his band and is a sweeping zephyr of fresh Welsh air sweeping through the blues rock scene this is not jaded and a regurgitation of what has gone before – Days of Destiny is for me in contention for album of 2013, why it has it all, great song-writing, strong guitar sound, melodic backing vocals and a driving rhythm that melds and weaves together to create a live sound that you want to hear again and again.
Available at Mark Pontin Store
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