Three Hail VirginMarys……..
Believe it or not, The VirginMarys have been around for quite a while. Since 2009 in fact. And the Macclesfield rockers show no signs of letting up with their third studio album, Northern Sun Sessions. So how does it fare?
Well, it gets off to the usual signature heavy start with, Look Out For My Brother. An absolute no nonsense song from the band – Ally Dickaty and Danny Dolan – with the “Wow-oh-oh” part set to become a singing fixture from the fans when they play this song on their upcoming tour. A great opener. Which leads nicely into the second number, SOS4UNI. And they stick to the same musical principals, with Dickaty and his Macclesfield fuelled growl being aided and abetted by Dolan and his rapid fire drumming.
Third song in is, Eye For An Eye. A real cool number this one, as it starts with a slick opening before, and not for the first time on this album, Dickaty stretches those vocals chords come the chorus. One to get your groove on to. Song 4 is, For The Two Of Us. A slower tempo to this one, but losing none of the rock edge to the music. Dickaty again showcasing why he has got one of the best voices in rock, as well as not being too shabby on the guitar either. Danny Dolan really gives it everything on the drums on this one as well.
Halfway through the album and it’s the turn of, Blind Leads The Blind. And this one is kick arse heavy, a proper rock song. Given the fact that these songs are done by just the two of them, this is quality. And it shows the VirginMarys are really getting better with every album. Song six is, Get Me Back Home. This, to me anyway, is one the best songs they have done in a long time. A rock-blues feel to this number, and a passionately sung one to boot. An excellent song.
Seventh song in is, Northern Sun. The title track of sorts, and a song that comes straight from the heart. Dickaty once again gives it his all on the vocals on a song which has a shed load of feeling to it. “I’ll love you, right or wrong”, screams Dickaty in a stand out number on this album. Song eight is, Wanna Be Free. And this is classic anthem material, with the verses building up to a chorus that will raise the roof come tour time.
Flags is the ninth song in, and is another song driven by passion. One thing about this band is that they always give 1000% in everything they write, and this is no exception. A classic, yet typically English, rock song. Penultimate song is, Step Up. And this certainly does step up in every way. The shortest song on the album but that doesn’t matter, as it packs a punch and makes a great addition to their back catalogue. The album ends with, All Fall Down. And it does Northern Sun Sessions no harm at all, closing this impressive album in more blues-rock style. And closes it very well.
This is a great album (and I’m not being biased, coming from Macclesfield myself), purely on the fact that they can take a rock song and give it their own identity, and the third album is meant to be the most difficult. The VirginMarys make writing rock music so easy. You want a northern version of Royal Blood? The VirginMarys are right here. Excellent stuff.
Northern Sun Sessions is released on the Masochismo Records label on November 16th.
Catch them on tour in November on the following dates –
November 20th – Louisiana, Bristol
November 21st – Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London
November 22nd – Brudenell Social, Leeds
November 24th – Club Academy, Manchester
November 28th – Stereo, Glasgow