This is album number three for Sydney quintet The Ramalamas and it finds them successfully capturing their live sound in the studio. There’s a relaxed atmosphere and looseness of playing – in the best possible sense – that defines the spirit the band has, making this a freewheeling and fun album to listen, dance and drive to.
Head honcho Chris Nielsen knows his way around a tune, whether it is breezy west coast country-rock or the British take on RnB, blues and rock ’n’ roll circa the Faces and the Kinks. Vocally he can conjure up a raspy Davies/Stewart holler on ‘Doin’ Fine’ and dial in tumbling melodies over the rock ’n’ boogie of opener ‘Can’t Put You Down’. As players, the band match his songwriting expertly with a rhythm section that combines bass, keys and drums with lively energy, providing hints of a soulful Motown feel on ‘Lucky’ and a great psychedelic outro on ‘Shank’s Pony’.
Writing songs that sound effortless and familiar, the sum part of their influences, yet still stamped with their own personality isn’t an easy thing to do. The Ramalamas have managed to do just that on an album that lives and breathes organically like the warm breeze and sleepy sun of a lazy summer afternoon.