Modern day troubadour Brandy Row has been skulking the streets of London with his self proclaimed brand of inner city folk music for over 10 years now. A mop of feathered black hair and a tattooed heart, he claims his influences to be "the bitter sweet taste of life", seems that this is a man who has teetered on the edge of life in his Chelsea boots, whether it be as playing gnarly punk rock as guitar slinger/cigarette smoker with The Gaggers or blending traditional folk and punk fronting ten-piece collective Brandy Row & The Troubadours - whatever he does Brandy Row is always one to stand out from a crowd.
His last few solo singles are sorrowful acoustic blues more in the direction of Hanoi Rocks side project The Suicide Twins and if you dig a bit of that then you will love a slice of his new EP, 'Hold No Shame'.
Channelling the ghost of Johnny Thunders, Brandy Row plays music from a bygone age that many of us still hold a candle to. The romanticism of rustic, gypsy music, the simplicity of three chord rock 'n' roll and the poetic charm of folk music, all blend together here in four tracks available on shiny vinyl and you wouldn't want it any other way.
'Consolidated' opens the EP like a long-lost Johnny Thunders solo outtake. Loose and and jammed-out with soulful female vocals towards the end, Brandy's vocal drawl the perfect accompaniment. This is late night, smoky barroom music laced with amphetamines and cheap red wine, and it sounds mighty fine.
The title track is the tale of a balladeer and a journeyman, just Brandy and his acoustic, the chord structure almost a folky lullaby as Brandy tells a story of losing his mind in Picadilly and travelling dusty roads to nowhere and back again. A rousing and instant chorus, an Exile-era Stones vibe going on in all its countrified goodness. A sharp blues harp solo cuts like a knife through the balladry momentarily... it's beautiful, really.
Has Brandy Row been hanging with Paul-Ronney Angel down some dark alleys? Sure sounds like it on 'Walking On A Razor's Edge'. The Urban Voodoo Machine-style tale is full of suspense and drama as mournful fiddle and tinkling of the ivories go with the flow, proper gypsy rock 'n' roll with a touch of Lords Of The New Church thrown in for good measure. At six minutes long it's a bit of a epic.
'Martial Law' rounds things off nicely like some Stiv Bators inspired spaghetti western music. Dark, smoky Blues as slide guitar and mariachi horns blend together with sweet female backing vocals as a lone piano plays the eerie melody to fade.
Brandy Row takes us on a ride to the dark side of town, this EP is the soundtrack to the hangover from the night before. Beautiful and dangerous all wrapped up on one package, it's worth the entry price for just the title track, let alone the other three. You love Hanoi? You dig The Dogs D'amour? Or maybe you grew up or threw up to a soundtrack of The Lords and Johnny Thunders? Then 'Hold No Shame' will take you there and back again. Looking forward to a full album off this stuff.