Nineties brit-rockers Reef are back with Shoot Me Your Ace (Raging Sea), their second album since their 2018 reunion. With original members Gary Stringer (vocals) and Jack Bessant (bass) joined by newer members Jessie (Ronnie Wood’s son) on guitar, Luke Bullen on drums, and the production and guitar work of Andy Taylor, Shoot Me Your Ace shows a band firing on all cylinders.
It is a forty-two minute offering of vintage rock n’ roll that fans of Reef and anything amped up will love. This, their sixth record, is a much more cohesive and effortless affair than previous outing Revelation, which was a decent but disjointed hodge podge of gospel, country, rock and southern rock. Part of this is attributable to the guitar and production work of Taylor, who, despite his pop background, knows what makes a rock record tick – as was previously evidenced by his work on Thunder’s Backstreet Symphony.
Single ‘Best of Me’ is an AC/DC like number with a chunky riff and a driving, Phil Rudd style drum beat. The cut and thrust of ‘Shoot Me Your Ace’ opens the record with panache, it is a thrusting Hard Rock song and a lively demonstration of the raw chemistry on show between axemen Taylor and Wood.
Whether it be the punchy melody of ‘When Can I See You Again’ or the tight, Led Zep-esque riffs of ‘Wolfman’ – there is no pretence here, just a good time. It may not be the most original but the sweet vocal harmonies and relaxed, sunny vibe of ‘Right On’ ticks many boxes. The earthy, bluesy rock of ‘Refugee’ is a highlight, and has more than a touch of Cinderella to it – especially Stringer’s gravelly, Tom Keifer like vocals – it is a joyous example of how good rock music can be, and is familiar yet fresh, and the six-minute, Rolling Stones sounding ‘Strangelove’ tops off a tight, raucous and rollicking record; the Glastonbury quartet’s best one in a while.
8 / 10