Only “the most exciting blues rock super-group in the UK” right now. That’s the label being applied to Malone Sibun by the European Blues Awards ceremony, despite not yet having an album released.
Malone Sibun are a partnership of soulful UK-based Detroit blues-rock star Marcus Malone and British blues rock guitarist Innes Sibun, who met up by chance at a gig and realised just how much musical common ground they shared. Both musicians have had a very busy and successful year individually but were perhaps both looking for what came next, and realising that they were essentially looking for the same “pathway” (sorry, loathsome word!)
Musically though, this was good news for both of them – Innes Sibun has touches of Joe Bonamassa, Paul Kossoff, Albert King and Jimmy Page in his playing style, while Marcus Malone’s voice has undeniable shades of David Coverdale, Paul Rodgers and Otis Redding, so these provide a pretty hefty springboard for their own talents to shine, in a majorly powerful band format that gives a great cross-over of rock and blues to both audiences. Each song here gives voice to Marcus’ soulful and emotional lyrics and singing, while Innes’ guitar work adds passion and great blues work.
The album opens with “Come Together”, how aptly titled is that, with fiery power chords and ‘a cappella’ vocals, and not a little hint of Beatles as well. Next up is “Let Me Love You”, which opens with riffs straight from Zeppelin (I’m sure I heard it before!), meaty Paul Rodgers vocals plus Bonamassa licks…..what’s not to like! “I Want You Back” has some quite mesmerising guitar work, world-class!
“Taste of Your Love” is softer, slower, it could be Bon Jovi, Black Crowes or Aerosmith, quality craftmanship. “Jodie” is then full-on southern rock, but with Eric Clapton and JJ Cale apparently on vocals, while “So Tired of Living” goes right back to slow blues with that gritty Paul Rodgers sound and extended guitar licks a la Bonamassa.
“LoveLight” kicks off with another meaty riff straight out of Jimmy Page’s book allied to Coverdale-esque vocals, its great stuff and really does take one back to early Whitesnake. “She’s My Girl” has some sludgy slide guitar a la Bonamassa or Black Crowes, while “Rabbit Hole” is up-tempo fun, these guys are obviously enjoying themselves, just listen to the giggling during the chorus! The album’s closer, “Everyday’s a Miracle” rounds things off in a much smoother, soulful mood, could so easily be Paul Rodgers.
This is a veritable smorgasbord of classic blue rock with a deal of variety between the songs, one of those albums where you hear so many snatches of other heroes, you forget that you’re listening to a single “band” and not a compilation of greatest others – a really back-handed way of complementing these two on their sheer quality and versatility, not to mention the supremely talented “rest of the band”!
Despite my attempts to catalogue most of my heroes from the last 50 years, these two are fresh, dynamic skilful performers who can easily live with all the comparisons because they are way up there with the best! All in all it’s a thoroughly enjoyable listen, to be released on 31 January 2020, and I think we’re going to hear a lot more of this brilliant combination!