As with other releases on the retrogressive Inverse records, you’d be totally forgiven for thinking this was a re-release of some forgotten gem, an obscure 70’s rock band whose back catalogue had recently been unearthed, rescued from some long-buried time capsule, cleaned up, and handed back to the rock-loving public. However, as I am sure you can guess, this is actually a brand new album by obscure Finnish band Whipping Post.
On first listen, I imagined that there were a lot of enormous sideburns, long hair and maybe the odd beard in the band. It turns out that I was wrong, and they are actually a rather fresh-faced bunch. Whipping Post sound like they should be hairy, scrawny, and permanently glued into massive corduroy flares. Their sound can only be described as classic, laid-back 70’s rock. It might even be possible that they named themselves after a classic track by The Allman Brothers Band, but that is just a guess…
The only giveaway that this isn’t an old rock album is the production, which is full, clear and pristine, without that echoing drum sound of yesteryear. Musically however, the band have not had any external influences since 1978. There is a huge vein of laid-back blues rock running right through this album from start to finish. It does rock, but in a late night, end of the party sort of way. There is a fair chunk of southern blues thrown in for good measure, and occasionally I am reminded a little of The Black Crowes.
One thing that makes it a great retro listen, is the keyboards. They have a distinctly organic, dated sound, adding a hint of progressive drama to the rocking. The parp and ceremony conjures up fleeting references to bands like Greenslade, Deep Purple and even Yes on occasion, to my ears at least. However, Whipping Post can’t really be called progressive in any real sense; their efforts are mostly concentrated on sounding as much like 70’s rock as possible.
Like many of those bands from that time, the musicianship on display here is excellent, with some great riffs, fantastic, heartfelt solos and lush, melodious vocal harmonies. Open `Devil Lady’ has all of those hallmarks, with a great stomping beat and rabble-rousing chorus in particular. However, not all the album is so consistently good; some of the songs are less than memorable, despite all the awesome bluesy guitar solos and vocal harmonies. For this rock fan, it doesn’t always rock hard enough either, a few of the songs are a little plodding in my opinion.
A talented bunch no doubt, with a serious love for rock and blues. You have heard it all before many times, but this isn’t bad by any means. An album to play when the whisky bottle is nearly empty, eyes are distinctly bleary and the party is drawing to a close.
(7/10 Jon Butlin)