TAINTED LADY - 'Sounds Like Freedom // Feels Like War' Album Review
1. Seven Billion Souls
2. Hey Mr. Music Man
3. Building A Machine
4. Kiowa Warrior
5. Down To The River
6. Song Of Reckoning pt. II
7. Revolution (Love Pollution)
8. Fever Dream
10. Lonely Bird
When I started to review this band, I had them in my head as ‘Painted Lady’. What a naff name I thought (almost as naff as actually using the word naff!), but no! I had misread. They actually go by the name of ‘TAINTED LADY’. This level of misogyny can mean only one thing - Classic Rock! Looking at the accompanying photos, this suspicion was confirmed. But hey, come on guys; the times they are a changin’ - it’s not as if we would ever talk about tainted men.
A quick look at the biography told me they are a 5 piece from Denmark and that, here before me, was their 2nd album. They’d even attached a lyric sheet. Very brave!
The first song started and, already unnerved by their moniker, I started to scan the lyrics. The first song ‘Seven Billion Souls’ opens with the line, “The world’s going to hell but let’s not sing about it”. Of course, that’s exactly what they don’t do, so they were about to get the full-force of my mockery, when - hey wait a minute… this song is pretty good. A killer melody, fantastic harmonies and a Classic Rock west coast style. I better give these boys a chance.
The second song, ‘Hey, Mr. Music Man’, threw me a bit of a curve ball with a really cool hippy Folk-Rock vibe. Again, those harmonies shine. The lyrics are a bit of ‘Age of Aquarius’ hokum, with “songs falling from outer space”, like they do.
‘Building A Machine’ is next and it wouldn’t sound out of place on a Black Country Communion record. Cool!
The album then starts to falter a little. Average rocker, ‘Kiowa Warrior’ shows where the Tainted ones are on the timeline of life, as they call for the boys to come back from Vietnam. Don’t worry, lads, they already did.
‘Down To The River’ starts with a Robert Plant folksy intro but morphs into a Bon Jovi Rock ballad - disappointing.
They then then go for a big epic Rock moment on the album anchor, “Song Of Reckoning pt II’. They don’t quite pull it off, even with the nice sing around the campfire mid-section. The harmonies are still killer; the band are playing well and the production is strong, but it’s just missing a certain something.
But what this album doesn’t need is mid 80s Hair Rock and that’s where it heads for the next 3 songs. ‘Revolution (Love Pollution’ is a filler that overstays its welcome. ‘Fever Dream’ reminds me for some reason of Poison, which might be unfair to both bands, and ‘Flowerchild’ veers more towards the world of Lenny Kravitz- when he plays air guitar all alone at home.
Finally, just as I was about to give up on the band again, they end the album with the lovely, ‘Lonely Bird’. Another nice stab at late 60s/early 70s Folk Rock.
So looking back, it’s bit of a mixed bag. I think there are four absolute killer tracks on here - which already have found a permanent place on my playlist, one OKish attempt at an epic and five pieces of mid/late 80s Rock. It’s clear to me that, when they play the west coast Rock card, these boys have a strong hand - more of this direction, guys. Playing-wise, the band sound great, leaving plenty of room for the fantastic vocals and harmonies. I can imagine they are right royal rockers live and would be great as a support act when one of the few remaining monoliths of Rock come to town.
But that name…….
Website - www.taintedlady.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/taintedlady/
Review - David Hancox