Marcus Lazarus 

'This Life'

Album Review

The music scene in the Capital of the UK has been the place to be for many musicians and music fans for over 50 years, and the influence of the range of musical styles in London can be heard in Marcus Lazarus’ new album 'This Life'. The album is a follow on from the wonderful 2013 EP 'Beggars and Thieves', and the 2017 album 'Save My Soul', and is available on www.marcuslazarus.com with digital distribution via iTunes, Spotify, etc. Marcus is backed by a fantastic range of professional musicians, and their talent exudes through Marcus’ wonderfully crafted song writing.

The title track 'This Life' is a cover of a Curtis Stigers' tune, best known as the theme song from the popular HBO series Sons of Anarchy. Marcus heard this song on the radio, and felt the lyrics summed up his philosophy of life – “live for today, your destiny and your soul is not your own”. 'Driving All The Way to L.A' is a rocking AC/DC style epic, and was one of the last tracks recorded for the album. The song started as a loop running through Marcus’ head, and he decided to develop a story with a road trip theme – think Pulp Fiction mixed with a Muse influenced middle eight.

'What Can’t Speak Can’t Lie' started life with a Sitar influence. As Marcus explains “I was noodling with my line 6 guitar, and made the sitar sound. I thought “this is very George Harrison” but wanted to go somewhere different. It’s another road trip song, Americana but written from first person perspective”. The lyrics hint at a love long lost, with a beautiful Beatlesque harmony.

'Black Hand Over The Sun' is a return to the roots of Blues, and is based on a true story of slaves and owners in the deep South. The vocal was recorded in one take, and Marcus’ gravelly vocal lends well to the gritty story of Nat Turner and his comrades. 'Knock Me Out' is a rousing singalong of a song, and is an ode to a passionate love affair. This is a great classic rock song, so incredibly catchy you’ll be singing it for days.

'Bullshit Blues' is a statement of the way the world is at the moment, and was inspired by events occurring in 2018 – particularly the way politicians work. The jazz, funk and percussion breaks gives a nod to Stevie Wonder of his political era of the 70s, and the backing vocals emphasise the message – we don’t need your bullshit.

'What You Got (Is What I Need)' is a Motown sounding pick me up, and I defy anyone listening not to want to dance around the living room. The opening lyrics were composed after borrowing a retro microphone from a friend, and luckily for us the soundcheck developed into this song. 'Caught In The Middle' is an accidental nod to John Lennon, and has a clear and positive message for everyone. The pace and tone is different to the “usual” Marcus Lazarus blues/Rock sound, but this is one that feels like a song that has been around for years. The backing vocals are heavily influenced by 70s Lennon, with input from Lee, Johnny and Jez.

'Keep My Flame Alight' is a wonderful classic Blues song, with some gorgeous singing from Marcus. It was written specifically for Marcus’ appearance at the Great British Blues Festival in Colne, and according to Marcus this is his first real Blues song, not Blues Rock with input from Simon McBride.

'Trying To Write A Love Song' has been in development for 8 years, but Marcus couldn’t find the right feel for the song. The song was originally going to be on 'Beggars and Thieves', but suddenly found inspiration in 2018. As Marcus says “it was a song that needed to mature!” After recording the song with a real band rather than Logic Pro synth instruments, it feels like a classic Marcus Lazarus rock song.

 

'Fab Gear Groove' is next. The main inspiration for this funk soul song was the riff, and no lyrics to go along with it! As Marcus lives with a Beatles fan, there is memorabilia all over the house and it was a conscious decision to write something “Beatley”. Suddenly the lyrics were composed of Beatle song titles, and for those that want to know most of the titles come from John Lennon! The chorus may also sound familiar…a homage to the fab 4. 'Turn Up The Heat', a pure disco vibe exudes from this song, with brilliant riffs and funky vibes throughout. The shout out has everyone in the studio around the mic – a great way to finish the album!

Track List: 1. 'This Life' 2. 'Driving All the Way to L.A' 3. 'What Can’t Speak Can’t Lie' 4. 'Black Hand Over The Sun' 5. 'Knock Me Out' 6. 'Bullshit Blues' 7. 'What You Got (Is What I Need)' 8. 'Caught In The Middle' 9. 'Keep My Flame Alight' 10. 'Trying To Write a Love Song' 11. 'Fab Gear Groove' 12. 'Turn Up The Heat'

'This Life' is an excellent Blues/Rock album and would fit right in with any collection you own. TFM gives it 4/5