By Jonathan Bradwell
Funk Rock. If someone says this to you, it bears a suggestion of stereotypical funk with an almost ephemeral heavy margin dashed in spontaneously. The balance is seldom rewarding, apart from in the debut CD handed to me by neighbourhood band “Left Ajar”. This towering Eleven Track debut album offers you the most animated of funk beside the most course rock hooks. Not short of masses of time to allow music to flourish in songs, “Left Ajar’s” ‘Wayne’ (Vocals) knows specifically when to burst in, making sure his company don’t get too far down the ever so tempting experimental route.
As soon as the first scream of “Someday” blusters skyward, up and other the groovy riff torn up by ‘Andy’ (guitars), what recoils around your judgement in terms of influences are California’s own “The Offspring”. Where the interludes sound ever so alluringly like they want too cross into heavier boundaries, the funk aspect clasps the riffs right on that threshold, having an affect that is tedious but undeniably entertaining to fans of heavier parts of the music world. This equality means that not only are the Chorus’s tender and slimy, but they continually adopt and adhere to a memorable feel.
Similar to all legendary rock, “Left Ajar” has the endowment to withdraw and slow the pace to produce epically compelling material. The leading seconds of “Crosswind” demonstrate an inscrutable change in pace, with the guitars surfacing out into a delicate and subdued scene. The drums seem to coincide splendidly. With a creamy and impassioned vocal line, plain drum beats, and both guitar and bass chasing each other: This song is absolutely the most prestigious out of the eleven. Nothing more is needed as ‘Wayne’ springs in with “I hold on, the damage was done, you moved on, left behind by the one”.
Closing off the original material are tracks “Heatwave” and “Isolated”. Both these songs drip a filtered and hefty sound not far from the likes of “Rage against the Machine”. Particularly luxurious is the harmonized vocals on the former track, which last just long enough: While present, there delicious, when not, they are profoundly craved. Apart from a venerable demo, a cover of “Crazy Horses” by “The Osmond’s”, and also “Rebel Yell” by “Billy Idol”, top off the concluding part of the release. Although the covers are readily recognisable, ‘Andy’s’ plump guitar sound brings them back to the “Left Ajar” sanctuary.
Granted, it is not so different from anything that we have heard before on either a local or a national level. However, trying to write down specifically what it sounds collateral too is inconceivable, and this is what makes “Left Ajar” one of the leading bands in the Steel City. Where others transpose genres so much it becomes indistinguishable, “Left Ajar” take what is magnetic, and what works efficiently, and put a spin of their own into the jumble. For the covers alone, this album is worth grabbing. For the original material, well, that’s pretty damn cool too!
Left Ajar Live…
(Picture and Video Courtesy of Left Ajar)