Girls Guns And Glory. Good Luck/ Sarah Borges. Radio Sweetheart. Lonesome day Records.

Boston band Girls Guns And Glory are one of those hard working, hard touring bands who are the bedrock of roots rock in the US. Stolid and dependable they’re probably not going to set the world on fire but their past releases have been fine slabs of roots country rock and with Good Luck, produced by Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, they’ve come up with their most adventurous album so far. Years of touring have been the equivalent of daily workouts at the gym with the band now toned and able to rip out country, rock and blues while barely breaking sweat in a similar fashion to the likes of Jason And The Scorchers in their heyday.

The ten songs here are all top notch cuts. Delivered with a swagger and, on occasion, some ferocity they range from the halting ballad One of These Days to the switchblade blues of Built For Speed which recalls The Fabulous Thunderbirds. C’Mon Honey is a turbo charged Eddie Cochrane meets the Ramones thrash while while It’s Your Choice gets all Springsteen on the listener as the band rev up and show off their muscles. There’s more muscle on the horn driven Be Your Man and a time trip to the greasy fifties on Shake Like Jello which features an absurdly deranged guitar solo. The stand out cut is the opening song, All The Way Up To Heaven, a multi layered country rock song that marries acoustic and electric instruments and trots along wonderfully.

Good Luck is a fine album that benefits from listening with the sound turned way up with Ambel’s production capturing the band’s sound. It’s tempting to guess what they sound like live and fortunately (for some folk) Girls Guns And Glory have a short UK tour coming up in October although there are no dates north of the border. That’s a real pity as they are touring with fellow Bostonian and now label mate Sarah Borges who also has a new album out. Radio Sweetheart is Borges’ solo debut following the breakup of her backing band The Broken Singles and was originally crowd funded before Lonesome Day Records picked it up. Borges is an Americana femme fatale with a fantastic voice and a fine sense of the melodrama of Roy Orbison and his twilight cousins as imagined by David Lynch, she’s like the older and more “experienced” sister of Neko Case. Radio Sweetheart, despite the loss of The Broken Singles is another hard hitting rock swoon with tons of twang guitar, one foot in the fifties, one foot in the future. It smacks you in the head like a gutter punk hanging outside an off license, slicked hair and menace trying to bum a drink.

Produced by Steve Berlin, Radio Sweetheart belies its retrograde faux fifties Technicolor cover art as Borges instead dives into neon dreams and nightmares for the most part. There are some uplifting songs such as The Waiting And The Worry, a sprightly and tightly arranged pop song that is delivered with a heavy nod to NRBQ to the extent that Terry Adams plays piano on it. NRBQ’s quirky take on melody and rhythm surfaces again on the reverb drenched and skewed bar room swing of Heavy Dreams, a cover of a Lloyd Price song where Borges adds some oomph to the nth degree with her gutsy voice up front as guitars buzz with an exhilarating sense of menace. There’s a sassy southern rock come on on Girl With A Bow and a rare tenderness, albeit with an edge, on the title song but the best moments here are when gutsy guitar and gusty vocal collide. Think Of What You’ve Done approaches Muscles Shoals level soul drama while there’s a mighty clusterfuck on Mind On Me and Hands On Knees is muscular as hell.

Borges is touring with Girls Guns and Glory in October. Dates here

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