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STUBB’s debut album is also the first release of the young label Superhot Records. Recorded in 2010 and mixed in 2011 by Stone Axe’s own Tony Reed, the album finally emerges with eight tracks of 70s-inspired bluesy psychedelic rock. The songs are presented with a real power trio sound with minimal overdubs. The opener 'Road' makes clear from the first note what will be going on. Drummer Chris West builds the foundation with simple, grooving beats, beefed-up by the warm growl of Peter Holland’s bass. The band’s sound is completed by the guitar of Jack Dickinson, who is also doing the lead vocals and has a nice fuzzy guitar tone, which is warm and not too heavy. The vocals are clear and rather high, sung with passion and dedication.

With these basic ingredients, STUBB forge songs like the aforementioned 'Road', the stomping 'Hart Hearted Woman', with its nice mellow ending or 'Scale the Mountain' with its addictive swinging groove and great chorus, sung by bassist Holland. Excessive soloing with massive use of wah-wah adds a nice jam feel to the compositions and really reminds me off likeminded 70s heroes such as Cream or Hendrix, who are undeniably a big part of STUBB’s influences. The acoustic 'Crosses You Bear' and the slow, melodious 'Crying River' (with nice female guest vocals by Polly Tones singer Malin Dahlgren) add another, more gentle side to the bluesy heaviness presented throughout the album.

The 7 minute long track 'Galloping Horses' closes the album with a blast, bringing together all elements of the earlier songs again and therefore making this the best way to end this nice album. At first listen I was not too impressed with this record, because some of the compositions seemed to be a bit too generic for me, but the album is really a grower, and after a few spins I was hooked with it, especially after seeing these guys live. To cite one of their songs: They roll like a river and crush like the sea!

(Steve Albino)