ThirtySix Review by Joe Druce
Having been involved in numerous bands and much work as a session musician since starting out at university in the late 70’s, Simon Campbell is something of a veteran of the UK and European music scene, but Thirty-six is his first solo album.
With this in mind the first thing to ask might be why he has kept everyone waiting for so long, because ThirtySix is quite frankly great.
At the same time though we should perhaps be thankful for the patience, because the musical knowledge and experience that pour forth suggest that this album is made possible by Mr Campbell having taken time to shape his personal musical identity. Campbell himself is on guitar and vocals and he takes a definite lead throughout with some fantastically varied playing that kept me constantly engaged, but the rest of the band is equally well utilised. There are some great arrangements and it felt like nothing was out of place regardless of whether the song was more stripped back or full of sound.
As suggested by the liner notes, which, in an environmentally laudable, if somewhat irritating fashion, are on line rather than with the CD, the individual songs don’t fit neatly into any particular genre however. There are touches of a jazzier sensibility, hints of folk, particularly on the seemingly Jimmy Page inspired As beautiful as You, and, dare I say it, a definite tinge of prog rock with some of his vocals reminding me at times of Ian Anderson’s delivery.
However, overall the album retains a homogenous feel that never strays too far from its blues rock roots and this binds it together and makes it a pleasure to sit down with and listen to it as a singular piece of work. This is particularly the case due to the quality of the lyrics which have a more purposeful feel than much that is written within modern blues.
To finish then I would say that this is a fantastic album that really showcases Simon Campbell’s individuality and talent and which has a lot to say for itself. I think it will appeal to fans of many shades of rock and blues, especially those interested in a more experimental approach that is not content to simply rehash the past.Joe Druce