WHISKEY SET - The Ransome Brothers (Off the Hip)
Pair a couple of Rocket Scientists with a two lesser-knowns from the Melbourne rock and roll scene, throw them into a basic studio with a roster of good songs. Sounds like a promising modus operandi and it is. I wanted to love this album but something stuck in the craw.

The accompaniment is raunchy organ-and-guitar garage raunch that approximates some of the best stuff delivered by the Detroit Cobras, so that's not the issue. At the risk of being accused of walking into the room with a pencil in my hand, seeing someone naked and asking who is that, man, I'd have to say it was the vocals from Screamin' Mimi.

Before you get the idea that I-94 Bar tastes have moved over to "Battle of the Choirs" territory, let's say that few, if any, of the vocalists for bands reviewed here have anything more than a miniscule chance of making the Vienna Boys Choir, and that technical proficiency has zilch to do with singing in rock and roll. It's just that Ms Mimi grates, with an attack that falls just short of a caterwaul that hits way too many flat spots.

I'd go far as saying that she's trying too hard NOT to be a singer. Proof of the pudding, if it were needed, is in The Ransome Brothers' cover of "Tin Soldier" where she sings her heart out and pulls off a difficult assignment with distinction.

On the plus side, Mickey Heartrbreak and Mimi (and with occasional guitarist Roman Tucker, who also supplies organ and bass keys) deliver the goods in tonally dirty style. Kit Warhurst is on drums so you know that department's in good hands. And the songs, as alluded earlier, are all pretty solid with "Wildcat", "When I Take Him Home" and "Love For Sale" stand-outs.

These guys (and gal) are supposed to be pretty sharp live but I don't have the benefit of experiencing that first-hand. Maybe my take-out would be different. Chalk one up for something being a good idea at the time. I don't hate this album but I'm just saying, OK? - The Barman







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