Reuben Archer’s Personal Sin - Petrolhead

Reuben Archer’s Personal Sin - Petrolhead

(CD, Toxic Arrow Records, 2017)

Ok, so I got a little overexcited reading about REUBEN ARCHER'S PERSONAL SIN and their second album “Petrolhead” and got a little carried away. I was blown away by STAMPEDE's gig at the 'NWOBHM X-MAS Rocka' in Sheffield in 2016, so I just had to have it. I ordered the albums and requested a promo for review before I actually gave the “Grand Theft Auto” video-single a go... With its Blues-y nature, for a few seconds, I thought I'd be in over my head. But only a few bars into the song I was overmastered and found myself hitting 'play' again and crank up the volume.

What is really amazing with the “Petrolhead” album is how spot on it hits its target; it is an album about cars and the only thing I could think about spinning it for the first time was highway-driving (this, without checking any details regarding titles or anything), you know, when you've beat yourself silly at work and is finally on the way to that very exciting event. The relief, ease and joy...

Opening “No Gasoline” holds the same groove as the single, a solid foundation in Blues but tipping over on Hard Rock on occasion. The stomp and dynamics are what make this to stand out. One of my favorite moments though of “Petrolhead” is doubtless the second track, “My Limousine”. Perhaps it is not as cheerful as the rest but the smooth flow, tagging on to BLUE ÖYSTER CULT's “Then Came The Last Days Of May” is amazing. It has equally incredible melodies and even though it is a mellow song it has that intensity and nerve which makes it spine-chilling, pleasurable. And towards the end, when the tempo is slightly picked up and the power of the guitar rises it gets even better. Rob Wolverson impressed me a lot when I saw him with STAMPEDE. I guess he's behind it here as well as he's listed as composer, together with vocalist Reuben Archer (STAMPEDE, ex-LIONHEART, ex-WILD HORSES etc.), the playing is utterly delicious. Also, “Last Chance Station” stands out with the upbeat acoustic guitar. I love the storytelling type vocal line, it makes this smart and witty. And it all together, with the country-redneck vibe it becomes fabulous.

The variation between the songs, even if they bring out the same emotion in you, as well as the dynamic and organic sound, make the record so vibrant. If you think you'll get an old-school Blues sound out of “Petrolhead” you're wrong, since it has a modern production. But it's airy while the frequencies are filled from top to bottom which makes my subwoofer roar louder than a V8 engine for “White Knuckle Ride” and even more so for “Good Times Rolled Away” while everything is still crisp and clear. The latter is another favorite of “Petrolhead”. UFO-oozing Hard Rock, still with a solid foundation in the Blues. Reuben has similarities with UFO’s vocalist Phil Mogg, both the tone in his voice and the phrasing go parallel with his fellow countryman. But the range and variation Reuben delivers is greater as he mixes the mellow rather tonal voice with some really impressive melody-lines.

“Ballad Of Junior Johnson” could be the end of the drive described in “Last Chance Station”, where else than after 200 miles of desert road and nothing in between would Moonshine be a big thing? This song is another fantastic example of lyrics and vocal performance that creates pictures, soulfully performed by Reuben. It's not far off to draw a reference to the highest peaks of THIN LIZZY with this song.

I'm kind of loss for words; I can't describe how damn good I find this record, the sound and production is perfect. It's vibrant, catchy, varied... Well, it's been spinning round the clock for more than a week now and I'm nowhere near done with it.





01. No Gasoline
02. My Limousine
03. Last Chance Station
04. White Knuckle Ride
05. Oil And Water
06. Grand Theft Auto
07. Good Times Rolled Away
08. Long Time Running
09. Stone Cold Turkey
10. Ballad Of Junior Johnson
11. Caught In The Rain


Reuben Archer - Vocals
Rebecca Downes - Backing Vocals
Rob Wolverson - Guitar
Chris Clowsley - Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jim Cooper - Bass
Linda Kelsey-Foster - Keyboards
Neil Ablard - Drums