Fourth Coast Entertainment -

By John Berbrich
FCE Staff 

Relentless (2016) Paul DesLauriers Band-from Big Toe Productions

CD Review by John Berbrich


Last updated 9/1/2016 at 2:19pm | View PDF

Relentless is the perfect word to describe this fearsome blues-rock trio. From the ascending opening bars of “Stewtro Rock (Just Got Back)” to the textured guitar-drums interplay at the close of “Gonna Make You Move (Part 2),” the music charges fearlessly through various blues and rock modes, avoiding clichés while delivering austere power and clanging riff bombs.

First, let’s introduce The Band. Paul DesLauriers (pronounced “de-loree-yay”) leads the group on gritty vocals and fierce lead guitar plus piano and Theremin, backed by Greg Morency on bass and Sam Harrisson on drums and various forms of percussion. Together, these guys form a killer band, evoking for me classic blues combos of the 60s and 70s, like Humble Pie, Bad Company, Savoy Brown, Fog Hat, and Free. Not that the DesLauriers Band is derivative, but rather that they play with the same heated masculine authority as these hearty progenitors, even cranking it up an extra notch. It’s interesting to note that the five above named bands hail from the UK, and the DesLauriers Band is from Montreal, Canada.

This is a serious guitar band, the sonic path paved by furious bass and drums. The guitar is urgent, the vocals full and powerful, hiding nothing. One of my problems with too many blues artists is that the listener usually knows what note is coming up soon in any lead; with DesLauriers you never know what’s next. He can play it sweet or he can make it shriek, and either way sounds unexpected and right.

Really, every song is superlative. “Still Under My Skin,” is a dirty blues number that features wild, exciting guitar. “Wipes Away Your Sin,” starts like a march, all thudding drums and thrumming guitar chords. “Up in the Air” is a lean and mean solid blues tune. “We Just Might’ is a full charge and gallop right from the opening drum roll, DesLauriers roaring all the way on vox and guitar. And The Band writes all their own songs, with help on the lyrics by “longtime collaborator” Alec McElcheran.

In January 2014 Paul DesLauriers was recognized as Canada’s top blues guitar player at the 17th Annual Maple Blues Awards ceremony in Toronto. In 2015 each guy was nominated for best on his instrument—and Greg Morency won for bass.

The Band is headquartered in Montreal, but DesLauriers is originally from Cornwall, Ontario. Absolutely buy the CD, and keep your eyes open for local performances. Don’t be surprised if they blast you out of your chair.

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