Following the release of their debut single Sombre Circus ft. Nell Bryden, which received critical acclaim from journalists & DJs around the globe, West London collective The Roadside Bandits Project now release their eponymously named album alongside 2nd single My Own Lies ft. Gang of Four vocalist John Sterry.
The album sees project main-man, Santi Arribas expressing his acute sense of social justice & sociological views on the world, in a collection of blues & electronica tinged soundscapes. With Arribas on guitars, keys, programming & production duties, he’s joined by an array of top flight musicians including the drummers Steve Barney (Annie Lennox, Will Young, Sugababes) & John Finnigan (Ian Gillan), bass player Mark Neary (Noel Gallagher, Adele, Sting), keyboard player Matt Johnson (Jamiroquai) & various Gang of Four members, including the recently passed,and good friend of Arribas, Andy Gill.
Arribas’ key musical influences shine through on each piece, as can be seen on Cooder-esque opening track Dawn, which sets the mood for this primarily instrumental album with an arresting acoustic slide performance. Next up is Borders: a trad Mexican/Tex-Mex intro melody sets the scene before the track turns into a darker blues structure that, in Arribas’ words, conjures up the imagery of immigrant & Narcos activities happening on the US-Mexican border. On Landfill, with its free structure & darkish tone, Arribas paints an aural picture of the devastation left behind by conflict.
Debut single Sombre Circus features US born / UK based singer-songwriter Nell Bryden whose poignant lament about ‘Trump’s wall’ & the dance between the world’s richer nations & war-weary refugees seeking asylum is very moving, while current single My Own Lies, a co-write between Arribas & Gang Of Four vocalist John Sterry comes from the perspective of a politician whose lack of understanding of key issues makes him lie compulsively, in order to achieve any objective.
The Blues Psycho was the first track Arribas wrote for the album, when he came up with the mix of traditional blues & electronica that can be heard throughout the record. With its tale of ‘the many’ being assaulted by ‘bandits’ (the political classes), Don’t Be No Fool sees Arribas step up on vocals (produced by Andy Gill) while the tracks Run, with its Motown influence & the hip-hop tinged Solace, lead on to the album’s closing track Dusk – a track that juxtaposes the opening track Dawn with its electric delta-blues flavour.
Santi Arribas (photo courtesty of The Roadside Bandits Project)
The Roadside Bandits Project is the brainchild of Santi Arribas whose career in music has spanned record production through to club/venue sound design, working at Ministry of Sound & more. His creative influences include classic guitarists like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ry Cooder, Robert Johnson & BB King, as well as the blues & psychedelic genres as a whole. Visually, Arribas has a love of impressionism & in particular the artists Monet & Sorolla, plus surrealists like Magritte whose influence can be seen in the album’s artwork (designed by Jamie Cartlidge). Please follow on your preferred social media platform for updates.
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