Two Scotsmen, a Swede and a Hungarian walk into a pub…and play some of the most exciting music I have heard in a long time.
The Blind Faiths are no joke. They sprang from four disparate talents who met during the course of Aberdeen’s buzzing open mic scene and blew apart the live circuit with their catchy, funky, pensive and uncategorisable music. There are many reasons why these guys are a band to watch, destined for great things.
Firstly, the music hooks you as soon as your ears catch it, sending a message directly to the brain’s pleasure centres saying, “This is awesome!”. The songs are not mere pop-by-numbers throwaway singalongs, however. They are full of depth, character and haunting lyrical content. There is never a dull moment, with changes in pace, key and melody within each song. There is also a marked shift in genre between tunes in The Blind Faiths’ repertoire. This does not seem artificial or forced but adds to the wonderful musical melange that these talented musicians can concoct. Songs range from the heartfelt “Holly” to the epic “Trees (Branching Out)” and the uptempo ska-inspired anthem that is “Gypsy from Kingston”
Straight from the start, the cohesion of the group itself is not in question: tighter than a door seal on a nuclear sub and with just as much impact. All four members seem to compliment each other with every one displaying his prodigious talents, gelling with the others to form their audible magic: all this from a band formed less than four months ago.
Billy M Jack, whose vocals would not be out of place at a soul revue, gives the lyrics a driving force with a strong voice full of bristling passion. He is also an accomplished guitarist, providing a warm bed of acoustic rhythm for the flowing waters of the melody. He also occasionally gets his well travelled sax out and reels around the stage, and sometimes into the crowd, blowing punchy riffs and spiraling solos to great effect.
It’s rare for a band to have two outstanding singers in their stable and this is where Rico Strokes comes in. Sharing the lead and backing vocals with Billy, he belts out the songs with as much gusto and emotion. The transition between the two voices is natural and they compliment each other
wonderfully within and between the songs. Rico also wields his electric guitar with aplomb, giving a cutting edge to the music with his stark rhythms, choppy riffing and flowing solos.
Erik Berggren cuts a commanding figure. The tall Swedish bassist never stays still during his set, with his blonde head and fingers always on the move. Another rarity in most groups is the presence of a bass player who makes you sit up and take notice. Erik does this in spades with basslines full of funked up sophistication as well as pinpoint accuracy. He manages to define many of the songs in the opening bars, providing a catchy tune that sears onto the long term memory, the main culprit being the brilliant “Sign (on the dotted line)”
Zoltan Kraszko is an experienced and versatile drummer from Hungary, who communicates beautifully with the rest of the band, providing a solid base as well as using his kit as a multidimensional instrument, forming an integral part of the musical structure. His almost Jedi like instincts ensure that the songs are held together with flexible consistency.
This fantastic foursome are a treat to watch in action as well as listen to. Their boundless enthusiasm for their craft and their sense of fun shine through and permeate the audience who, if not already dancing, break into spontaneous bouts of clapping, foot-stomping, whooping and whistling as if at some rock and roll ceilidh. The band have recently spread the joy all over the UK in their “What’s That You Say?” tour, playing to even more delighted hordes of fans hungry for something new and vibrant.
Keep your eyes peeled for The Blind Faiths: they’re enough of a solid platinum guarantee of musical genius, sparkling energy and good times ahead.
[Warning: some language in the interview may offend, including cl*nge, f**k and b*s f********h]