The Beans – S/T (Independent)
The Beans are a Houston, Texas quartet comprising Sam Griffin (vocals and guitar), Christian Galatoire (guitar), Daniel Taylor (bass) and Brendan Hall (drums). Their eleven track self-titled debut is perceptibly blues-based, but they’re far from purists, and there are obvious influences at play, from almost current artists like the White Stripes, to genre originators like Led Zeppelin and late ‘60s / early ‘70s Stones. Add to that a respectful nod to the elderly black artists who found a home on the back-to-basics Fat Possum blues label, together with old jazzers and a tab of hard-edged psychedelia, and you’ll have some idea where The Beans are coming from.
Of course, some of you may have already come to that, or some other conclusion, simply by having a peek at the artwork they employ, but have a listen, too, and you’ll hear plenty to get excited about. They get things moving with the stomping “Wanting You”. Its rhythmic propulsion, Plant-esque vocal and twin guitar attack all combine with incendiary prowess. It’s a powerful statement, a compelling call to arms, and sets out their musical stall with some finesse. Followed by “Wabasha”, a slow burn blues-rocker which sacrifices neither gritty authenticity or an iota of rock ‘n’ roll attitude.
Both styles are utilized throughout their record, and they’re not afraid to stretch out as and when required. The full-throttle “Blind Willard” gives way to the seven-plus minutes of “Devil Woman”, and later “Carnal Constant” and “Whiskey Headed Woman” are extended and drawn out to wholly natural conclusions. 40 years ago The Beans would probably have been massive stadium draws, touring the world every couple of years and living on the cover of Rolling Stone. They may have to temper those ambitions in 2013, but there’s no reason why those of us who enjoy this sort of thing, shouldn’t make the most of them while we can.