|Stampede - 'A Sudden Impulse' (Grind That Axe/Rock Candy)|
|Written by Johnny H|
|Saturday, 30 April 2011 05:00|
The thing that first grabs my attention about this long awaited second album from reformed UK rockers Stampede is the large sticker on its cover that bears the legend "Classic NWOBHM". Why you might ask is a sticker so bloody important to me? Well to me NWOBHM is a term I would never have associated with Stampede, because having been a bit of fan of the band back in the day I would never in a million years have placed them alongside the likes of say Handsome Beasts or Persian Risk. No, Stampede were always much more of a refined beast, with something of a unique sound (due largely to Reuben Archer's vocal style), as anyone who has ever heard their classic debut album 'Hurricane Town' will surely agree with. You see Stampede had much more in common with the big boys, the likes of UFO and Thin Lizzy, than the bullet belts, denim and leather of the NWOBHM scene, and that's why this album (their first in 28 years) has got me so excited.
'A Sudden Impulse' is the result of two years worth of hard work by the original trio of Reuben and Laurence (not Lawrence, tut-tut Rock Candy) Archer on vocals and lead guitar respectively plus bassist Colin Bond, ably assisted by Steve Graystone on drums and Chris Clowlsey on rhythm guitar. With hotshot new guitarist Rob Wolverson also adding his tone and style to proceedings the resulting 13 tracks make for a very "classic rock" sounding affair indeed.
In fact it is very much the aforementioned spectre of Mogg and Co that underlies the grooves of 'A Sudden Impulse', not in a plagiaristic way you understand, but definitely in the style and delivery of tracks like 'Having Fun', 'Shame on You' and 'Natural Disaster'. The latter in particular featuring some searing Raymond/Schenker type guitar interplay from Clowlsey and Wolverson. Elsewhere album opener 'Send Me Down An Angel' has Laurence Archer peeling off licks that could only have been come after years of experience working with the likes of Mogg and Way and Phil Lynott, whilst 'Humble Pie' comes over all Southern, with Reuben adopting an almost Skynyrd-like drawl over a white-hot display from the band's 3 guitarists.
Personally I always find Stampede to be at the very top of their game when they are experimenting with their sound and pushing their own boundaries a bit (as they did on the likes of 'Love Letters' and 'Mexico' on 'Hurricane Town'), so that is why the Glen Campbell meets Pink Floyd sounding (yup you did just read that correctly) 'Flaming Gold', and the Lynott-esque pop of 'Homeward Bound' are my standout tracks. The band themselves must also like 'Flaming Gold' as it makes the track listing for a second time via an acoustic version as one of the album's two bonus tracks.
Overall then 'A Sudden Impulse' is an accomplished bluesy return from Stampede, a band you should never simply label as NWOBHM because they have so much more to offer their fans both old and new.