Review: The Byson Family – “Kick the Traces”

When Phil Campbell (not the one from Motörhead) parted ways with The Temperance Movement at the beginning of last year I was more than a little disappointed with the announcement. I felt that The Temperance Movement had managed to capture lightning in a bottle and they were easily one of the best things going in music during their time together. However, when I later found out The Byson Family, I was completely on board with the idea and couldn’t wait to get their music in my earholes.

While Kick the Traces was originally released on a limited edition run I missed it but now the album is here, expanded and remastered and available on every format known to mankind making it readily available and easily accessible for everyone’s listening pleasure.

The album opens strong with Riches, a beautiful little track that starts of simple enough and eases you in with Campbell’s silky vocals before building out to an all out banger. Riches encapsulates everything great about both the band and the album into one neat little package and it sets the stage perfectly for what follows.

I WIsh You No Ill and Cross the Line compliment each other perfectly with both highlighting different aspects of what makes this band great and such a joy to listen to. Only Love Can Live is the kind of old time blues infused rock that makes me want to go for a drive in the country as the sun sets behind me. Lean In And Love Me might be one of my favourite tracks on the album and one of the few songs I’d heard on the runup to release as I’m terrible at checking back for new singles and would probably be the song I’d use to showcase the band to someone for the first time.

Tracks like Angel of the Reckless, Hope And Pray, You’ve Been A Fool and If You See the Emptiness round off the original song list from the album’s limited run with tracks such as Lonely Side Up and Little Bit Longer bringing up the back half of the release it’s really hard to pinpoint anything negative to say here when what’s on offer is this damn good. If you’re like me and following Phil Campbell over from The Temperance Movement there’s plenty to enjoy here just as there is for anyone looking for a simple dose of pure rock and roll.

From start to finish, Kick the Traces is an absolute pleasure to listen to and absorb as it provides a purely effortless listening experience that not come across in a really long time. Some people may consider this an insult and a strange comparison but this is up there with James Blunt’s Back to Bedlam album for me as being one those albums that just sticks with me long after setting the headphones down.

There’s a simplicity to The Byson Family’s music at first but as you dig deeper and on repeat listens you start picking up and appreciating the complexities of the musicianship that’s on display and while I’m sure there are hundreds of bands out there that I’m ignorant to doing similar stuff, I’d be shocked if any of them could hold up to what these guys are doing. I’ve spent nearly a week with Kick the Traces now and I’m still not sick of it and I’m still picking things out of the mix that I’ve never noticed before.

I’m fully aware that this review may come across as a little fan boy gushing over his favourite band but as anyone who knows me or has read my stuff before will know I’m not afraid to tear things down when I think they deserve it. I said in my recent Chvrches review that I didn’t think there was many really good albums this year, but no matter how good the likes of Screen Violence is, it doesn’t hold a candle to Kick the Traces because so far it is easily my album of the year and I can’t wait to see these guys play live.

by Edward Laing

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