am 3. Dezember 2013
The Berggren Kerslake Band, while also featuring the solid four-string talents of Tomas Thorberg, puts the spotlight, name-wise, firmly on singer-guitarist Stefan Berggren and drummer Lee Kerslake.
Berggren is perhaps best known for his early Millennium stint with The Company of Snakes, the blues-rock band formed by ex-Whitesnake guitar tandem Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden.
In BKB however Stefan Berggren’s blues-infused rock pipes have found an even better home; on the Walk Tall EP Berggren has put his voice (and none-too-shabby guitar work and keyboard touches) to some great new material.
After a six year semi-retirement (having left Uriah Heep in early 2007 for health reasons) there was good news when Lee Kerslake got himself back behind a kit for a number of live performances (most notably with Uriah Heep Legends) before forming BKB with Stefan Berggren and Tomas Thorberg.
The even better news is Kerslake’s drumming is still as big and beefy as the man and his personality.
The title track of the EP is an excellent choice for featured/ lead-off number.
Its mid-tempo, bluesy rock swagger develops into a great slice of melodic blues rock and roll, in the mould of later-era Bad Company or early Whitesnake.
But ‘Walk Tall’ also carries its own vibrant sound and features some great harmony-guitar and six-string lead lines from Berggren.
By contrast ‘Super Sonic Dreem’ is a full-steam ahead rocker driven by Lee Kerslake.
Recalling the drummer’s illustrious past, the song is a distant second cousin of Uriah Heep’s ‘Easy Livin’ in tempo, energy and short bursts of Heep-esque backing vocals.
But there’s far more to the EP and BKB than just melodic blues and classic rock
’My My’ builds from an understated vocal and acoustic opening to blossom in to a song of many layers, featuring a couple of organ-keyboard runs and string-like keys that only add to the atmosphere of the song.
’Free’ changes the pace for what is best described as a heavy-ballad with acoustic-based core, but carrying some mid-heavyweight punch.
‘Born Again’ has a similar musical weight to ‘Free,’ but the EP's closer slows things down further before kicking up a gear for an up-tempo finale.
There’s an earthy, honest quality to the material on Walk Tall and “honest” might just be the best word to describe what BKB are producing.
Because this is honest rock and roll from a trio that have clearly formed first and foremost due to their love of playing together; their chemistry has produced some very strong material.
How successful BKB can be however is going to be based more on the quality of their debut album (due in February 2014) and how much of a dent “honest rock and roll” can make in what has become a re-imagined musical world of retro-rock, re-written Greatest Hits and classic bands becoming partially reformed brands at the drop of a hi-hat.
That said, based on the five tracks that make up the EP?
Messrs Berggren, Kerslake and Thorberg can look at what they have already produced… and Walk Tall.