Southern Men

Heading East
Retro Futurist
13th November 2015

Niche 1600

Kylesa’s Retro Futurist label has signed  rock quintet Niche for the release of their third album, “Heading East”.

Beginning as a three-piece rock band in Savannah, Georgia-based Niche has subsequently expanded into a quintet.

The band deliver ‘70s-influenced rock with Southern US with  psychedelic elements which reflect an English influence.  Dual guitar solos, three part vocal harmonies, layered Hammond organ and synths, together with a powerful rhythm section, come together to produce a sound that sometimes has a nostalgic feel, but at the same time has its own modern identity.

Founded in 2009 by childhood friends guitarist/vocalist Justin Dick and bassist/vocalist Michael Redmond, the current line up includes Corey Barhorst on Hammond/synths (Black Tusk, ex-Kylesa), drummer Lee Vallier and guitarist/vocalist Kristopher Maedke-Russell.

Photo by Andrew Von Goellner
Photo by Andrew Von Goellner

With two previous self-released albums under their belt “So Be It” and “The Other Side Of The End”, which are both available from Bandcamp. the band began recording this new release  in December 2014.  Utilising The Jam Room in Colombia, South Carolina, with long time friend Phillip Cope of Kylesa producing the album, they laid down this first release with the current line up. The album delivers six new tracks with nearly forty minutes of rich, hazy, psychedelically flavoured classic rock with a contemporary feel. With tight vocals and exemplary playing the band have produced a release which is both respectful of the rich history of southern rock also adopts some English 70s/80s rock sounds to create a familiar but contemporary sound.

Stand out track “Sweet Dear Anne” has a flavour of classic Thin Lizzy about it in the vocal department and a instrumentally has a feel of the Leonard/Jones Man line-up. Another favourite is the up tempo “Tough and Mean” which has the spirit of Phil Lynott, at his very best, at its heart. The epic and  marvellous  “Days To Come” which closes the album has a Lennon-McCartney feel which erupts into something which would not be out of place on a early Yes album and has a lenghty coda which should have any air guitarists out there in seventh heaven. Glorious and joyous stuff which reminds me why I fell in love with rock music in the first place.

Highly recommended. There will be two cuts from this excellent release featured on the Aural Delights Podcast in a fortnight.

“Heading East”  is released through Retro Futurist on digital and CD November 13th with a vinyl pressing to follow in early 2016. Check out “When I’m Gone” from the album on Soundcloud.


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