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TK Webb and the Visions - Ancestor

  by Anthony Middleton

published: 9 / 10 / 2008

TK Webb and the Visions - Ancestor
Label: Kemado Records
Format: CD


Challenging, but highly rewarding new album from blues master TK Webb, the first with his new band, the Visions

'Exile on Main Street' has become a point of comparison for any rambling blues album and 'Ancestor' bears up well to the 70s' classic. Like the Stones album, it is the sum or the parts that matters here, not that there are no standout tracks, just that the object here is not to unearth a single, but rather to create an earthy, dirty epic. TK Webb, proclaimed a blues genius, formed the Visions after a couple of solo albums. 'Ancestor' is obviously a new direction and its heavier, episodic tracks just about flow into each other. I have found it hard to not keep replaying the opening song 'Teen is Still Shaking', a grungy number, with soaring, drilling guitars that threaten to overwhelm Webb’s laid-back singing. With extensive guitar breaks and pounding drums throughout, the song really sets a standard for the album. 'Good Bless the Little Angels' is a near psychedelic number. Distant guitars, teasing with crescendos that never climax and Webb’s restrained, echoed singing, keep a tension under wraps that is never really allowed to break out. 'Closed Caption Slang' features a riff driven with a Dylan-like vocal performance from Webb. A more restrained, acoustic number, 'Patience and Fortitude', provides a change of gear, though this is still heavily blues influenced and demonstrates that the praise heaped on Webb is not misplaced. After this, chain-saw guitars lead us back to 'Shame' where again Webb’s singing is not up front, but like a voice heard from another room. Some may find not being able to make head nor tail of the singing annoying, but the overall effect works. Most of the lyrics appear to be of the obscure, train of consciousness school rather than delicately honed. But along with 'Teen is Still Shaking', this is one of the most arresting numbers. At times the album strays into an area that is heavier than I would usually venture, though it is certainly on the genteel side of metal, but even that could be too much for some of us who spent our youths ruthlessly mocking Scorpions fans. Webb always come back from the brink of the abyss however and rather than drive his guitar down pointless and indulgent cul-de-sac, he is always ready to bring it back under control. 'Ancestor' is certainly an accomplished, skilful piece of work both technically and thematically. Often, being lauded for skill rather than art can be a sure sign that an album is going to be dull and one for anoraks. This changes direction enough to stop it just being a showcase for Webb’s prodigiously good guitar work. There may not be a rush of singles from Ancestor but it is 45 minutes of challenging, 21st Century blues.

Track Listing:-
1 Teen Is Still Shaking
2 Year 33
3 God Bless the Little Angels
4 Closed Caption Slang
5 Patience and Fortitude
6 Shame
7 Hope You All Are Gone
8 Dreen Drone Death
9 1000 Horns
10 Isle of Grizzly White
11 Time to Go

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