“3.0” is the second cannon ball to come out of the powerful artillery known as Tarot Rats, the Kent, UK based rock band – and what a powerful blast of an EP it is. One never knows exactly what stereophonic delights will come out this band but you do know that it’s going to be incredibly good. This recording solidifies that theory. The songwriting is as crisp and tight as the musicianship of each and every member of this band. “3.0” showcases a blues-based rock band that is comfortable in its own skin. There is certainly no follow-up slump here. In fact this one builds on the strengths of the band’s previous EP “Minor Arcana”. The combination of Timothy ‘Steel’ Hill (Lead Vocals), Johnny ‘Riff Wizard’ Hammond (Guitar), Chris ‘Solo’ Sansom (Guitar), Adrian ‘Chiv’ Smithers (Bass) and Alex ‘Malc’ Ribchester (Drums) proves to be truly magical.
These guys know where their strengths lie and how to use their immense talent to their ultimate advantage. Steel’s voice is amazing in that it has actually gotten stronger and better since the band’s last recorded outing. There is no tendency to over-sing and he tones things back just enough to really improve the vocals over the previous Ep.
Both Chiv and Malc are given plenty to do here, but again there is no overplaying as both seem to be at the service of the songs rather than their instrumental prowess. Riff Wizard and Solo follow suit putting forth some very neat guitar work and branching out to some tasteful soloing. Tarot Rats is a group that actually lives up to its hype and billing.
“3.0” rattles with energy and hums with class. The overall feel is perhaps a little more polished than earlier recordings. The producer has sprinkled the production dust to deliver a coherent, lush sound that still retains plenty of bite and raw edge.
This is cast iron classic hard rock, infused with blues and psychedelic flavors. Beautifully conceived and expertly delivered. Opener, ‘War Begins In The Minds Of Men’, is a great example of the dense songwriting that hallmark the EP. There’s a hint of gravel in the production, but the overriding sense is of power and resonance.
The bass-driven, ‘When We Were Young’ shows off the band’s softer side, with Steel tackling a higher register. There’s a lovely, mature setup between the vocal delivery and the perfectly judged, funky guitar lines and strums, before a fiery guitar solo sets the song alight.
Slow and languid, ‘The Hanged Man” twists, turns and blooms. The playing and writing seem to fit together as if for an ensemble show reel of remarkable talents. The inevitable killer guitar solo is full of drama and histrionics. This song is simply thunderous and immense. Probably the best of the bunch on an overall scale.
There are growers on the EP too. The brief ‘Business As Usual’ sneaks up on you with its sensitive lyric, insistent, climbing vocal and resonant piano lines. ‘Plastic Rose’ is another showstopper of epic tension, shifting rhythms, sweeping vocals, and scything guitars.
There is definitely chemistry between the players and beautiful creativity at work. A perfect balance of music, vocals and rhythm, “3.0” is an EP for anybody that truly loves classic rock or blues rock, with great music, lyrics and top notch vocals.