TYLA J. PALLAS – Devil’s Supper [Electric Sitting] (2013)
TYLA J. PALLAS is the once mercurial frontman of sleazy, drunken Brit rockers Dogs D’Amour, the underrated rough-n-ready bunch of rockers who enjoyed measured success in the late ’80s but, alongside The Quireboys, their brand of booze ’n’ roll was clearly lost on the Americans who preferred the more commercial and mainstream swagger of The Black Crowes.
Anyhow, Dogs D’Amour and Tyla have marched on through the decades, with “Devil’s Supper (Electric Sitting)” being the umpteenth solo outing for Tyla J. Pallas, just released.
This songwriter / troubadour once said, and rightly so, that Rod Stewart was a bigger punk than most of the artists claiming to be punk. And it’s only natural that Stewart – circa the Faces – is a big inspiration in that distinctive rough, sandpaper voice of Tyla J. Pallas.
Also, his music transpire an immense admiration for British classic rock and blues, which is wrenched from Tyla’s black and battered heart and full of blood, sweat and emotion. As solo artist, he’s nowhere near The Dogs D’Amour’s music and that’s a good thing.
Certainly the sound of Tyla would be an acquired taste and those of you not knowing of Tyla or expecting a sleazy hard rock album will be majorly disappointed, but if, like me, you’re after a slab that oozes soul then this record is far more rewarding than that bird you met at the bar last night in a drunken haze.
The album kicks off with the superb “Love Is”, a warm, honky tonk groove that staggers into the saloon on a woozy piano and Rolling Stones-ish guitar. But where it really shines is on the excellent verses to reach the bridge where some hearty horns are injected halfway through, and of course Tyla’s characteristic drool. It’s a great unassuming song of homely joy, and a track that immediately embeds itself into the brain, before we’re treated to the boogie ‘n’ roll of “Long Shadows” with its pattering drum and gentle swagger.
Tyla often struggles with any hint of a high note, but that’s the charm of that broken throat, especially with the smoky steps of “It Ain’t Over Yet” and the shimmering wonder of “Green Eyed Girl”, with its pleasant sways as Tyla croons ‘Back in the summer of ’75 when I first saw you my heart came alive, standing there in the bright moonlight I got what they meant about love at first sight’. It’s another instant classic rocker that evokes images of rainy streets and old pubs filled with cigarette smoke as the horns drift in on that indolent chorus.
Bizarrely, with four tracks immediately hooking themselves in, I was fully expecting “Devil’s Supper” to lose itself, but it never does. Tyla’s unique style is not merely the only quality that enables this album to roll. The moods are defined by simple yet provocative instruments such as a light keyboard, piano or a jangly guitar, making tracks such as “All Alone” or the twanging “Judas Christ” so sincere.
Tyla clearly has no need to shake a bottle in your face, when it’s far easier to sit down next to him and share his thoughts over a glass of warm red wine. The 14 tracks on offer here (15 if you count the demo of “Judas Christ”) are so tall in stature and yet rarely do they breath beyond an acoustic ramble.
“The Meaning Of Fortune And Fame” is one of my personal favourites here, with its stirring riff is a shuffling joy. Though it’s quite a laid back affair, there’s an essence of ‘Sympathy For the Devil’ about it and the way it builds and brings the hairs up on the back of your neck. Like all the best songs it just manages to deliver that unique, indefinable ‘something’, and the more you listen the more you’ll love it.
But of all the heartfelt tracks on offer it’s the tear-jerking ballad “Ode To Jackie Leven” that really tugs at the heart strings, as Tyla’s voice deepens over a swaying acoustic. Leven was a Scottish folk singer who died in 2011 and Tyla’s ode is majestic with its wheezing pipes.
Tyla J. Pallas’ “Devil’s Supper” is a moving yet unassuming classic rock CD that cements him in folklore as one of Britain’s most criminally underrated songwriters.
This is a record that ebbs and flows magnificently – it has drama and will also make you smile. It has lovable songs inspired in the past but will have old and young rock fans bowled over with quality of the songwriting. A lot of musicians spend a lifetime striving to write a decent song or two and Tyla J. Pallas seems to ooze great tunes with unnerving ease.
I recommend this to anyone who has a heart & soul touched by with classic rock ‘n’ roll music.
01 – Love is
02 – Long Shadows
03 – It Ain’t Over Yet
04 – Green Eyed Girl
05 – All Alone
06 – Judas Christ
07 – The Meaning Of Fortune And Fame
08 – Yeah (I Love You Baby)
09 – In Another Life
10 – That Someone
11 – Home
12 – Religion
13 – Ode To Jackie Leven
14 – Wisdom
15 – Judas Christ (Acoustic demo)
Tyla – vocals, electric & acoustic guitar, bass
Scotty Mulvey – keyboards, piano
Alan Clayton – drums, percussion
Paul Brennan – Uillean pipes
Marylebone Royal Academy of Music – horns, strings
BUY IT !