Demo by The Fluffy Jackets
Release date : June 2007
Reviewed by Anthony Morgan
This three track debut demo offering bursts forth from none other than The Fluffy Jackets. Heard the name? Does it ring any bells? Thought not. It's certainly possible though that a slice of fortune sprinkled with talent may pluck this unknown group from obscurity into the realms of the alternative rock scene. Let's be the nice guy and inform you of this group's informal beginnings.
Disillusioned with the Kingston based covers act Random, lead guitarist / vocalist Helge Rognstad announced his departure with the attention of giving birth to a new band. Taking Random drummer Ian Robinson along for the ride, they became The Fluffy Jackets. Playing a handful of live London shows, demand grew for a demo release. Lacking a blues influenced bassist, the search was begun for an individual capable of laying down bass parts on the debut effort. As luck would have it, they approached Whitesnake bassist Neil Murray for his professional help - an offer that was duly accepted. Murray's contribution is likely the reason behind the media interest in the band at this moment, and that very fact means The Fluffy Jackets will need to prove their worth in both the studio setting and the live circuit so that interest doesn't wane.
Cut at Cowshed Studios in North London with the assistance of producer Teo Miller, the three tracks offered to the listener were laid down during June 2007. Opening song “Salty Salty” is culled from Scottish blues rock group Nazareth's 1986 album Cinema, purportedly recorded within a single take. Even second number “Whiskey Drinkin' Woman” delves into the Nazareth back catalogue, this time from 1975's Hair of the Dog. Tight with a freely flowing style at the same time, it suggests a group extremely familiar with their chosen material. Intense zest and hearty passion usher forth, all displayed with a carefree attitude. It's a joy to listen to, and it's easily apparent the endearment The Fluffy Jackets hold for the music of Nazareth. Sole original composition “Beale Street” winds down the pace a little, moving along in a tuneful, moderate way which offsets the marathon run of the initial two songs. As Hognstad slowly grows in confidence, hopefully so too will the songwriting pen mature and realise itself. Thus far, it seems to be in decent form and it'll be interesting to see what other original numbers The Fluffy Jackets will issue on future releases.
The guitar licks Rognstad chooses to weave around three numbers know only one true disposition, and that is Blues based Hard Rock. Bold, uncompromising and in no ways repentant, it keeps the true spirit of the art form alive. Blues spawned many music genres, not to mention Heavy Metal as we know it in this present day, although multiple bands fail to remember this. Soaked in tradition, the Southern Mississippi Delta style dusts away its cobwebs and re-emerges in the form of Rognstad's chosen demeanour. Ghosts who are long gone yet not forgotten, it'll prove a charming pleasure for fans of the discipline.
Miller has purposely kept the production to a bare minimum, lending the songs a raw edge perhaps lacking on the releases of today. Fairly modest, in some respects it leaps from the stereo and transports The Fluffy Jackets into your front living room. Resembling an off the cuff yet well heeled live studio session, this is a smart decision. Stripping the songs of production values allows the musicianship and instrumental capabilities to shine through, a casual plea to live promoters with available gig slots.
Whether The Fluffy Jackets possess a genuine chance at gaining popularity relies on if Rognstad possesses the capability of penning original material strong enough to challenge the songwriting of his idols. If cover interpretations are the only truly sharp sword the group can wield, then further acclaim is going to be hard to come by.