Sverdlov is a three-piece rock band from the UK comprised of Matthew Forbes (guitar/vocals), Pete Ellis (bass) and David McCormick (drums). The band is a no frills - what you see is what you get - kind of rock band. The band went into the studio with the intention of capturing their live performances and I think they did just that after listening to Offshore.
A majority of the songs have a good amount of attitude and are injected with some blues. It’s not a crazy new formula but the world can always use another rock band that can play and deliver. Forbes has the kind of voice that will only really work in a rock band. He just doesn’t have the type of voice that will be winning American Idol competitions or used in an r&b song. He has some grit to his voice and it sounds like he has a full beard and probably likes to drink whiskey.
The band hits fast and hard out of the gates with the opener “Keep Your Promise.” Heavy blues- inspired riffs pour down on you along with a driving beat and steady bass. There weren’t many surprises to the song but the band does rock. You can hear a hint of Jimi Hendrix on the guitar towards the end. “Enemy Steel” contains some impressive guitar work, which carries the song. There wasn’t a particularly strong vocal hook or chorus but they somewhat get away with it.
“Too Far Gone” is a slight deviation with a lone cowboy, spaghetti western type feel. It’s another song where I feel the vocals could have been stronger. I wanted Forbes to let go, which he does with the guitar more than the vocals. “Southbound Joker” has a southern classic rock feel while “Roulette” is one of the highlights that contains a notable vocal performance. The next highlight was “Joppa” which had a great original guitar riff and solid drumming.
The one thing that I felt was missing from Offshore was explosive choruses. Sometimes the band waits too long to get there and sometimes they just decide doing something on the guitar is better. I think they should consider writing a couple of songs that just draw you in hook line and sinker. I don’t think they should abandon what they do now in any way but throwing a couple of zingers in there wouldn’t hurt.
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