Album Review | Self Release | Review by Marc Higgins
Many Miles from Zion National Park in Utah USA are hard to categorise. Victoria Lagerstrom has a fine voice, a huge soulful roar and Dave Tate, as well as being dexterous and intelligent on guitar, bass and keyboards has a versatile voice. Across carefully crafted songs, Many Miles draw on Folk, Blues, Pop and Soul, bringing together so much that is good about American music. Crucially the music always serves the mood and the song, when Dave solos, or Victoria sings its, always just understated and never too much. Lagerstrom’s vocals and Dave Tate’s prowess as a musician, producer and boss of Red Earth Recording Studios, the crucible for Rising Up, means there is always a lot to listen to.
“Rising Up” with Victoria’s lead is soulful classic rock with some find squalling lead guitar flourishes and some smart brass. “Beautiful World” with Dave Tate on lead vocals is intelligent rock pop, like a Coldplay with a ear worm chorus and a layered sophisticated sound. “Living In The Dream” has the taut bass and keyboard motif of The Stereophonics and that same anthemic ‘punch the air’ quality. “Stardust” shows another side with a Kate Bush or Beth Gibbons from Portishead does the blues vocal from Victoria that is real affecting, the power of Bush and that jazzy torch edge from Gibbons, layered together on a real gem. “Someday” is another powerful Lagerstrom and Tate vocals with sharp guitar and electronics as funky accompaniment. “Harmony” cools it down with an almost jazzy strummed feel behind wonderfully Victoria’s soulful voice and superb brass accompaniment from Marco Blackmore and DJ Barroughclaw. “Be With You” is a stripped back love song with the jazz lead and vocal sound of their acoustic duo, that slightly jangly languid Jack Johnson vibe is very easy on the ears. “Home” has the chopped guitar and ethereal vocal of a gutsy Portishead, the track builds to a Many Miles smoulder, Victoria’s vocal is spot on, competing in the temperature stakes with Dave’s killer guitar. “The Good Things” is a thoughtful ballad, chiming guitar and perfectly phrased vocals, a fine slice of Americana to close. Well crafted, old school music with a great sound and a lot to give.
Choice Track: Be With You (NSV 507)