Steve Tallis

"The First Degree"

(Zombi Music); Blues

By ​Phil ​Bennett

Steve Tallis’ new album, The First Degree, sees him joined by multi-instrumentalist, production wunderkind, Skip McDonald from Little Axe, and percussionist Evan Jenkins.

And what strikes you immediately about the recording is the muscularity of the sound.

Guitars are more upfront, the tones sparkling, the separation just enough to give real depth to the sound. So, on a track such as Like Mercury, the main riff leaps out, while the wah-wah fills sit slightly behind, the drums and bass slinking around in the shadows.

And it really says something for McDonald’s studio skills that this outfit sounds like a swaggering, road tested unit who ply their trade with the loose-limbed gait of people who have lived in each other’s pockets and in and out of each other’s heads for a long time indeed.

Which actually isn’t the case at all - the whole process took less than a week!

There’s an energised sound to this album and this meeting of minds and musical spirits has done nothing but good for Tallis and the execution of his material.

A follow up pairing could prove to be very interesting indeed.

This is good, earthy, blues based stuff that purrs, stirs and strides with strength and savvy.

One of his best.

​Phil ​Bennett

Musician, actor, singer, music reviewer, Phil’s interests cover a lot of bases and this is reflected in the music he writes about. From blues to soul, ambient to electronic, Phil writes about artists he feels are interesting, true to their craft and worthy of your ears.