French rock? You don’t hear about it much but it certainly exists. One of the many bands in France working their way up is Uncut, a trio heavily rooted in the long-running traditions of American rock and blues. Their latest release Blue makes their sonic foundation bluntly, abundantly clear, especially with the opening track “Family Blues”, a number that rockets back to the heavy psychedelia and blues of the likes of Cream and Deep Purple. “Highway To Cagne” takes more of a manic, progressive direction, at times sounding like a bluesier version of Dream Theater.
Where “Deandra” continues the energetic sprint displayed thus far, “Blue Eyes Lover” tones it down to a restrained trot up the street- that is, at least until the chorus kicks in. “Bee Blues” runs off of a similar template; a slow, mellow crawl that repeatedly collides with a wall of fuzz; Meanwhile “Small Steps” sounds like a massive step into sweet free-fall with a euphoric guitar solo holding it all together. “Snake Boogie” injects a huge whack of attitude into the record that up until now hadn’t been expressed so explicitly, offset predictably by the exciting gradual build of “Display”. “Diplodocious” provides us with another hard shot of the thousand-pound contemporary blues rock that is the indisputable beating heart of Blue; Thanks to sound dynamic judgement the closer “The Trap” holds the ear barrage off until the last 1:45 or so, easing and entertaining with a good 6 and a half minutes of scaled-back guitar fare with a couple of overdriven reprieves here and there.
Blue is nothing if not overwhelming, massive and jam-packed with energy. Some blues-influenced bands can fall into the trap of restraining themselves too much for the sake of the feeling; thankfully Uncut lives up to its name and gives it 100%- making room for those quiet, relaxed moments, building up the suspense, and exploding when it’s finally appropriate to do so. It wouldn’t hurt them to diversify somewhat in their musical stylings from this point forward, but the core of what they are definitely works. If they keep it up, they might be the catalyst for a whole new wave of bands out of France to write, rip, and reap the rewards of their labour.