The Dunwells

Blind Sighted Faith

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Continuing Britain's 2010s fascination with Americana, five-piece Leeds outfit the Dunwells' debut album, Blind Sighted Faith, is an unashamedly retro affair which harks back to the early West Coast rock of Eagles and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Recorded in Willie Nelson's Austin studio and produced by John Porter (Ryan Adams, Santana), its 11 tracks show little evidence of the band's West Yorkshire roots, with only the rousing nu-folk of opener "I Could Be a King" and the title track, a shimmering U2-esque ode to perseverance, deviating from their classic rock intentions. Resolutely old-school it may be, particularly on the vintage blues of "Follow the Road" and the gospel-tinged ballad "Oh Lord," but it's a pastiche they mostly pull off with conviction. The band's impressive five-part harmonies soar as effortlessly as Fleet Foxes' on the lovelorn acoustics of "Only Me," "Hand That Feeds" is an infectious slice of soul-rock which combines swirling psychedelic organs with foot-stomping Motown beats, and the melodic AOR of "Goodnight Mr City" could quite easily have been a leftover from Hotel California. The slower numbers drift into mediocrity, and while there's little here that can't be found among a thousand other less fortunate pub rock bands, the band's obvious fondness for the '70s folk-rock era ensures Blind Sighted Faith is largely an authentic and affectionate homage. [Resequenced, retitled, and with some alternate versions and remixes, the album was released in the U.K. a year later in 2013 as Follow the Road.]

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