Eight years. Allow me to repeat that. Eight years, and The B-Sharps have finally made their opening salvo by releasing Cherchez Kahuna. Some releases are notorious, synonymous even, with long gestation periods (I’m looking at you, Chinese Democracy) and usually never come close to delivering the much anticipated goods. Axl Rose wishes he could produce something this raw and energetic ever again. Cherchez Kahuna is a long brewing, mammoth debut release. The band’s “Chuck Berry by way of The Faces and The Kinks” sound is very refreshing, almost rebellious, and bassist Nick Allison displays songwriting maturity well beyond his years. Recorded live (mostly) to one-inch tape in an old garage for that extra warm, extra gritty layer, Cherchez Kahuna passes the “fingers crossed” test. That would be where I cross my fingers in hopes that the band was able to somehow compress the manic, chaotic force of their live performance onto the little plastic coaster spinning in my disc drive. Let me put it this way, this record is meant to be played loud and often.
It’s when the band takes the path less traveled that this album shines brightest. “B Minor” is a dark, superbly written tale of love lost. The combo of “Geneva,” “Blue Tornado” and “Hubba Hubba” come from the same pop-rock family and feel downright dangerous in the Sharps’ hands. These kids are good. The real treat, the creamy nougat of the album, if you will, comes midway through when vocalist Keef Owen allows Nick Allison to take the lead on “Count Me In.” Nothing against Owen’s prowess on the microphone, but this puppy has “Song of the Year” potential. Be prepared, even longtime Sharps fans will need to be sitting down for this one.
Any Sharps aficionado will recognize the live staples here, including “Cheap Suit,” “Nelson Street” and “Too Tall.” The hard-hitting album closer, “Thirds A Charm” is the quintessential B-Sharps statement. Whether it be Mitch Frazier’s blistering leads, Alex Allison’s gymnastic beats, Nick Allison’s low end, Timmy Oberley rounding out the rhythm or Keef Owen as the ringleader trying to help us make sense of it all, everyone is firing on all cylinders for this song. The track threatens to derail itself, and nearly does in the chaos, but never fails you. In a world of uncertainty there is but one thing you can count on, The B-Sharps will never fail you. Not bad for a bunch of guys who seem to have modeled their band after Marty McFly’s performance of “Johnny B. Goode” in Back To The Future.
The B-Sharps will be releasing Cherchez Kahuna at a lavish CD release party at 10 p.m. Saturday, February 28 at the Brass Rail with M.O.T.O and Flamingo Nosebleed.