CD Review Michael ROLF – Diving For the Moon
The album starts with a mid-tempo rocker “It’s Only Love” – Michael has a pleasing rock voice and the catchy riff and the vocal reprise soon get in your head. There’s an interesting mood and tempo change towards the end of the song – interesting in a good way. I think a little more could have been made of this change, but all in all, a good start.
“Pineapple Boy” is an electric piano-led instrumental piece which features trumpet – this could almost be some laid back chill out music, with the winding funky bass line and steady tempo of the drums – if the drum beat had laid back a little here and there this could definitely be heading for ambient territory.
“Beaten Up Woman Blues” is a ramshackle romp through an uptempo tune which mixes blues harp with twangy guitars – and, as the title suggests, a serious message in the seemingly throwaway lyrics.
“Only Got The Blues For You” follows more traditional blues territory with a slow walking bass line underpinning the first 2 verses. These stripped back verses give Michael’s voice a chance to show through – there is a pleasing gritty quality to his voice. I’d like to have seen a bit more form to this track – maybe a more cohesive acoustic guitar part.
We move firmly into rock territory with “This Long Road”, with crunchy rhythm guitars and driving drums and bass pushing us to the middle eight, and then to a simple but effective guitar solo which, after one more verse, takes us out of the song.
“Karma’s A Bitch” has a laid back, almost jazzy feel, but it is the lyrics that are important here – Michael obviously reliving some incident that is causing him to reflect on his young life. Whilst not wanting to pry, I would have liked to have known a bit more – perhaps a little more detail in the lyrics would be useful.
“Meet Me In The Morning” – a slow blues is introduced by a guitar solo which betrays hints of Michael’s rock leanings – leanings which become more evident in the middle guitar solo section. Lyrically this blues has some promise and might have been better suited to a solo acoustic backing.
Next we have a cover of “Galway To Graceland” – Richard Thompson’s well known song. Michael gives a great acoustic rendition of this song, with his voice doing a great job of carrying the story.
The instrumental title track “Diving For The Moon” is next up and is definitely rooted in rock, with a power trio format led by overdriven guitar. The playing is good, though I feel that at over 7 minutes the track is a little overlong –some editing and a clear definition of melodic ideas would have helped here.
“The Fallen King” is our final track. Sounding very autobiographical, this slow, melancholic track tells of a relationship that has gone wrong somewhere. The music is simple – bass, guitar & drums – leaving room for the story in the lyrics.
Overall this is an interesting album, with a good mix of styles. For me the most interesting instrument here is Michael’s voice – it is well suited to rock but also suited to slower, introspective pieces too. Of course, Michael is young and I expect that, with some more life and musical experiences, his next album might be the one to take him places. For now, though, this is a firm foundation on which to build.
Michael will be featuring songs form the album live in The Blues Show studio on Sunday 27th April at http://www.BishopFM.com