It’s comforting to know that after thirty-plus years, there are still some bands who know how to make great, fresh-sounding and meaningful music. Such is the case with New Jersey’s roots-rock-spearheaders, Speed The Plough. Their new album, appropriately titled Now is about to be released; their first fresh studio material since the “tag sale” side from 2013’s 12-inch, included in the compilation The Plough And The Stars – and even more surprisingly, the first new album to be released on the revived Coyote Records imprint (the label that was the epicenter of the Hoboken scene in the ’80’s).
From the dramatic and lush opening of “S.O.S.”, which builds slowly and carries along like a musical dream sequence, you know this album is going to have it. “Telegraph” has an almost Yes-like/prog-rock feel with some great organ playing with mega-rhythms and heavy guitars weaved in and out; “Be With You” has wonderful, chiming 12-string Rickenbacker figures and shimmers with sweet acoustics and flute and gentle harmonies on the repeated refrain of “all I know/all I do/all I want/be with you” – simple and effective and “Garden” has some seriously crisp and upbeat riffage along with some tasty Vox Continental sounding organ, rolling on at 100 m.p.h.
“Hey Blue” is a gentle epic with a slightly jazzy feel and a lot of color; “Miss Amelia” may be my personal favorite, as it has a sweetly sad vibe with some very (here it comes) Big Star impressions and some lovely countrified guitar fills along with the tender vocals and “Ed’s Song” just kicks like a mule, reminding me of a Husker Du (think late period) track, albeit with cleaner sounding guitars.
All twelve tracks will delight you because this album offers so much. And isn’t that what makes a quality album? Now is one of those records that comes along at the right time – to warm those encroaching cold winter nights.
Now will be released in December, 2015