Joe Kelly & The Royal Pharmacy – “The Wheel” (Ep review)

It has to be said, a new release from Joe Kelly and his ever-expanding Royal Pharmacy has been well overdue, but if one wants to take a five-month jaunt around New Zealand, evading the worst of the British months, what can you do? Musicians, eh?

On this three track ep, the band’s sound is enhanced by the arrival of two newcomers. Joining them are Jon on keyboards and local singer/songwriter Bryony Sier, who lends her mellow tones on backing vocals, providing perfect contrast to Joe’s rasp.

“Losing Side” although less instant than last release Babylon (which is pretty damn instant!), is a slow burner that creeps into your conscience and once there won’t budge…in a good way of course. The haunting “The Beast”, driven along by swirling keyboards and guitar solos builds on the momentum of the opening track and is as big as the band have sounded. Beast by name, beast by nature.

Final track “Guys Like You & Me” provides a change of pace and see’s Joe at his most poignant; it’s the warmest of 4am hugs from your best mate when you’ve had three or four too many, it’s the sound of solidarity in often less harmonious times, it’s bloody perfect!

The Wheel is already out and you can listen to it on Spotify right now. It’s also available on CD, which you can purchase from Diverse Vinyl and of course any of Joe’s gigs. Make sure you do!

The Wheel

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