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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Jesse Wagner and Envy Army of the Underdof Review 2014

 

JESSE WAGNER AND ENVY - ARMY OF THE UNDERDOG

SELF-RELEASED

MAY 23 2014

 

 

Blues fuelled and Soul inspired Rock is rarely done well as usually it’s a case of trading one against the other and coming up with a rather unsatisfying soup that looks good but pleases no one. This is different.

 

Having served time with her own band and as co-lead singer in disco monster Chic, Jesse has also sat in with artists as diverse as Patti Labelle, Sir Elton John, Peter Gabriel, Sister Sledge, Musiq, the Pointer Sisters, Bebe Winans, Eric Bene, and many more. She currently provides backing vocals to Kid Rock and that brings us to this EP.

 

Opening with the title track Jesse manages to harness a wonderful vocal with enough soul and raw blues in the musical mix to make you sit up and listen.

 

There’s an almost ska-like intensity to ‘Backseat Girl’ and a stuttering riff that breaks into reggae after a rock thrust. It’s an interesting song which again is elevated by a scintillating vocal.

 

‘Stuck in My Own Way’ removes the rock to leave us with an inspired vocal on what is essentially a straight Soul track. It’s cool stuff but not necessarily anything to excite our readers except for the lovers of the that laid-back vocal-led soulful easy listening vocal.

 

‘Shaking My Head’  has some great underplayed guitar and adds a nice horn, but isn’t exactly rock, more a soulful aside that has enough funk and melody to win over the open-minded. ‘OH’ however has a deeper groove and rides on a still funky but more insistent guitar almost entering ‘Living Color’ territory. It quickly rises in intensity before falling back again on that deep groove – it’s one of the most satisfyingly powerful tracks on the EP and it creates a completely satisfying climax.

 

‘Take me Over’ gets back to the rock, again with that deep groove but distinctly riff-led in the way that the best funk rock is. It’s another standout before the funk rock bonus track ‘Party Revolution’ adds a little of proto-Prince.

 

If guitar-based funk is your thing this is for you.   

 

 

 

 

by Mark Diggins

 

Jesse Wagner and Envy Army of the Underdof Review 2014