Reuben Archer, the Peter Pan of hard rock without a shadow of a doubt has released one of my highlights of 2017 with his studio album Petrolhead from his band Personal Sin. Released by Toxic Records his songwriting suss with Lautrec, Lionheart, Wild Horses and Stampede was pure gold and carries on with the eleven automobile themed songs here. Opener ‘No Gasoline’ has groovy stop start riffing that heads off into a melodic chug during the verses. It slows down to a whisper with quaint guitar lines and Reuben’s dulcet toneS that build up to a guitar dominated end. The sparse chords and melodic vocal intro to ‘My Limousine’ is full of jabbing riffs and a stronger vocal that add muscle to a midway searing guitar solo and Neil Ablard’s drumming picks up the pace for a Lizzy like twin guitar outro. ‘Last Chance Station’ is a lovely blue grass hoedown. Through headphones you can hear a pin drop in the gently picked acoustic guitar intro. The mood is accentuated with lyrics like “This road goes on forever, ain’t no corners ain’t no bends. The desert is relentless, its a road that never ends”. Harmonica pieces make the Western vibes stronger. ‘White Knuckle Ride’ is a speedy foot tapper as Reuben pushes his voice over some beefy riffing and laid back solos.
‘Oil And Water’ gently massages the ears throughout with jazzy grooves that flow alongside Reuben’s croon. A Santana like midsection backed by strings, give way to striding riffs. ‘Grand Theft Auto’ begins with Hammond like keyboards from Linda Kelsey-Foster that grabs the attention as a brass section adds texture as the rhythms shuffle along towards an ending of guitar heroics. The feel good vibe returns with the free for all like jamming in the practice room during ‘Good Times Rolled Away’. Its loose vibe features a huge chorus. The grandiose ballad ‘Long Time Running’ grabbed me in the same way as ‘Time On My Hands’ did, a beautiful song from the first Personal Sin album. The soothing keyboards and staggered riffs create an all consuming backdrop to yet another show stopping vocal. The ‘Ballad Of Junior Johnson’ is a slow burning slice of heavy rock as a sparse piano and guitar intro are joined by a heavier second guitar like a quickening heartbeat as the riffs get harder with a full on vocal finish. ‘Caught In The Rain’, album closer and my highlight here is a campfire by moonlight like ballad that builds from a whisper of a lone vocal, saxophone and guitar to an epic finish of guitar and saxophone solos.
Petrolhead album personnel line up :-
Reuben Archer – Lead vocals.
Rob Wolverson – Guitars.
Neil Ablard – Drums.
Jim Cooper – Bass guitar.
Linda Kelsey-Foster – Keyboards.
Rebecca Downes – Backing vocals.
Chris Clowsley – Guitars/backing vocals.
Petrolhead album track listing :-
Last Chance Station.
White Knuckle Ride.
Oil And Water.
Grand Theft Auto.
Good Times Rolled Away.
Long Time Running.
Stone Cold Turkey.
Ballad Of Junior Johnson.
Caught In The Rain .