ALBUM REVIEW: The John Butler Trio “April Uprising”

Label: Because

Release Date: 05.04.2010

The famous dreadlocks may have gone, but John Butler returns for his fifth studio album as “The John Butler Trio”.

As with previous albums there is a change in the lineup with bassist Byron Luiters coming in and the return of Nicky Bomba to the fold once again. Across five albums there have been eight different members, not including Butler, and it has to be said that the confidence of these changes has meant that you are never bored with JBT.

“April Uprising” is a testament to Butler’s individuality and strength of character. It builds on all of Butler’s influences from roots, dancehall and rock with tracks like ‘Take Me’ reminding you of a Jimi Hendrix-esque vibe that he has not so much created, but captured. It would be easy to suggest that all JBT tracks are politically motivated, but this album is testament to Butler’s ability to just play the music.

The album opens with ‘Revolution’ which is 5 minutes of engaging listening. There is an urge to fast-forward through the build up, but DO NOT touch that button! The slow building intensity is refreshing for some reason, and beyond the political undertones there is a sense of joyful sorrow.

‘Don’t Wanna See Your Face’ challenges you to not get up and dance – you won’t win that one by the way. Whilst ‘C’Mon Now’ and ‘Close to You’ are both up tempo affairs which exemplify how impressive Butler is on this album. The former track is more reminiscent of the rocky roots influences, but the latter is a pure rock track with Butler’s distinctive voice driving straight through it. Comparisons could be made with certain US and Canadian bands, but that would be unfair to Butler, and the John Butler Trio deserve better.

Where “April Uprising” starts with a track of joyful sorrow building every moment, ‘A Star Is Born’ is something completely different. In some ways it never really gets started, and the listener could feel robbed, but you are left in this quiet happiness.

Listening to the album from start to finish there isn’t anything tangible to fault. Maybe a few tracks are lost amongst the louder, more rockier numbers, but that does not take anything away from each individual track’s composition. The innovation of Butler, runs through the album, with everything that the listener could hope for in 60 minutes.

Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Constantinos Kypridemos


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