Gorilla Riot EP Review – American Honey Vol. I
After seeing them perform at the end of last year I was raving about one up-and-coming band more than any other and I didn’t have to look very far to discover them. They were Manchester-based southern dirty blues rockers, Gorilla Riot.
Named in honour of the band’s favourite whiskey, Wild Turkey American Honey, ‘American Honey Vol. I’ is a succinct, semi-acoustic EP featuring three new compositions plus a re-working of Last Hymn, which featured on the band’s 2016 EP, ‘Six Shots Down’. The new record sees Gorilla Riot paying homage to the styles of music that have inspired and influenced them, enabling them to express themselves in a very different tone to the raucous rock n’ roll that they’re renowned for.
Opener Bad Son was the first track from the EP to be released as a single and video. The introspective lyrics are about shunning the good advice of those who have your best interests at heart and choosing to follow your own path in life. Ultimately it’s about recognising and accepting what you are, warts and all, knowing that you’ll never change. The song is introduced by way of a scorching electric guitar solo courtesy of mainman Arjun Bhishma, which makes a blistering reprise later on in the track. Bad Son grabs you right from the very start, with a chorus that’s so hooky it practically forces you to sing along.
The next two tracks, Crazy Girl and Down The Road, are insanely catchy, dialled back, melodious tunes that really showcase the band’s love for roots-rock, blues and country. With a mellow, authentic southern sound, they combine interweaving guitar parts with soulful vocal harmonies. There’s an endearing familiarity about these songs that gives me the impression I’ve always known them. An acoustic version of Last Hymn rounds off the EP in style and highlights the band’s versatility, affirming that they are just as proficient acoustically as they are electrically.
This summer is looking extremely busy for the band, festival-wise. Having recently headlined the sold out Outlaw Rock n’ Roll Weekend at The Globe, Glossop, Gorilla Riot will be headlining the acoustic stage at Breaking Bands Festival and won the public vote to play the Rising Stage at Ramblin’ Man Fair, where they’ll be performing a full electric set. They’ll also be appearing at Manchester’s SOS Festival as main support to Bigfoot, as well as the Rock & Blues Custom Show in July and HRH CROWS’ main stage in September.
On top of all their festival appearances, Gorilla Riot will be performing in their home town, joining Skinny Molly for their first ever Manchester Academy show on 28th June! See the link below for ticket info:
American Honey Vol I drops on 18th May and will be available to order in CD format via gorillariotband.com. It will also be available from all leading digital and streaming services (see below).
1. Bad Son
2. Crazy Girl
3. Down The Road
4. Last Hymn
Gorilla Riot are:
Arjun Bhishma (vocals/guitar)
Liam Henry (guitar/vocals)
James Degnen (bass)
Charly T. (guitar/vocals)
David Thomas (drums)