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. PETER BARRON, GONNA KEEP ROCKING TIL MY BLOOD RUNS BLACK.

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Jupiter Diamond? T. Rex immediately came to mind when I saw the title – Ballrooms of Mars and Diamond Meadows – a different planet (queen) I know, but still within the confines of our solar system.

Barron looks mean and moody on the excellent cover photo – like Leonard Cohen auditioning for a new Blues Brothers film. But what kind of music is this mean and moody guy who appears to have run out of Gillette Mach 3s doing?

Electric Boogie – boogie on, as someone once said. And this song certainly does exactly as it says on the can – it boogies on incessantly. The Bolan influence is a big one – the wah-wah guitar reminds me of a T. Rex song I just can’t put my finger on at present. The ironic thing is that if Bolan had released this as a single it would have been huge. It certainly knocks just about everything he did from 1973 till his demise into a cocked hat and goes to prove that sometimes fans can do it better than the artists they admire. It’s a track with balls, and a great opener.

Running On Empty keeps up the pace with its staccato chords. It’s a car song worthy of The Cars at their best. Whereas the opening track had a 70s feel this one is rooted a decade later in the 80s. It’s a pity it wasn’t around at that time, as it’s better than 95% of the dross that decade produced. Great chorus that you’ll find yourself singing as you get stuck in a two mile tailback on the M8.

Back To The Start finds Barron getting over his mid-life crisis and going back to where he started from. Past mistakes are scrunched up and thrown in the pedal bin, the slate is wiped clean – and this time he’s going to trust his instincts and forget about the best-selling ’100 Ways to a Happy Life’ which failed him so miserably. The future’s bright – or orange if you prefer, mainly because it hasn’t happened yet I suppose. This is another fine optimistic rocker.

Out On A Limb is darker. I get impressions of Velvet Undergrounds Waiting On The Man and the melody of the chorus owes a debt to The Letter. T. Rex are on the margins with a mention of ‘Automatic Slim’ – or should that be Howlin’ Wolf whom Bolan stole it from in the first place, and is Mad Dog Pete a relation of Purple-Pied Pete? And is Razor-faced Jim the long lost brother of Wolf’s Razor tottin Jim? No matter, this song captures the smell of dirty inner city streets and shady deals.

Beautiful Girl is a welcome change of pace after the frantic opening to the CD. Barron still has Bolan on his mind with his references to Cadillac Moon and the truly atrocious Unicorn Horn as he shows his sentimental side and wears his heart on his sleeve.

Blood Runs Black is anything but sentimental! The Grim Reaper taps his feet to the jungle beat by the door impatiently waiting for Barron to finish writing his will and shake off this mortal coil. Kudos to Nick Harradence the drummer here for a great job. Wonderful chorus. This is the best yet and should be blasting out from radio stations throughout the world. If there is a single released then this should be it – and the video for it is as scary as being trapped in a lift with Donovan.

Dark Moon Rising is based around a great Deep Purple type riff. The cheerful optimism of Back To The Start has evaporated in the last two tracks – maybe that mid-life crisis is still producing aftershocks. Fantastic wah-wah guitar solo here. Pete ain’t my brother, but he’s heavy.

Bad Blood keeps Nick sweating on the drums while Barron wears away his plectrum with fast staccato chords as he sits in his personal ‘confessional’ hating his sins, his guilt and the inane, senseless nonsense that constitutes the world today – and don’t we all. I love the little riff at the end.

Fast & Loose is more conventionally rooted in rock & roll – and, let’s face it, that’s no bad thing. The lyrics are in the ‘Please take me back baby and give me one more chance’ category. Barron is tired of bedding three starlets a night and wants to be a one-woman man. (the fool!) Will it work out? Probably not – but then he can write another song about the next break up.

Jupiter Diamond lets us breathe a sigh and calm down after all that high voltage electricity. It’s a gentle ballad, maybe about the lady in the previous track and ends the album beautifully with an anthemic (dunno if that’s actually a word, but it suits my purpose) fade out of ‘Heart to heart, soul to soul, alright’.

What a great album! Well done – it was well worth all the effort you put into it Peter and I hope it sees some commercial success – it certainly deserves to. It has passion and for me that is a pre-requisite for the arts, and it’s sadly lacking in this X-factor world of no-talent wannabees. I commend it to the House!

David McGowan