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Washington Lees Experiment - 2002 Washington Lees Experiment

ARTIST: Washington Lees Experiment
ALBUM: Washington Lees Experiment
LABEL: Faith Hippy Records
YEAR: 2002


LINEUP: Steve Washington - drums, vocals * Samuel C Lees - guitars, lead vocals, keyboards * Joe Lees - bass, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Experiment * 02 See You Again * 03 Wasting My Time * 04 Resurrected * 05 Drag * 06 Nothing At All * 07 The Gift * 08 Nothing But Blue


Although the name probably doesn't mean much to you right now, the Washington Lees Experiment comprises of three hard working session musicians: Steve Washington has played with Texas and Nik Kershaw, amongst others, and Samuel C Lees was previously involved with the Budgie off-shoot Tredergar. What we have here is a slab of solid bluesy rock, steeped in the traditional sounds of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, with a bit of Free thrown in for good measure.

The Songs
The upbeat and slightly funky 'See You Again' - the first proper track here, with 'The Experiment' being an intro - presents WLE's classic rock vibe, something they do very well. Some of those aforementioned influences can be heard here and I feel the groove-laden nature of this song (and especially the more mid-paced 'Wasting My Time') should strike a chord with fans of classic blues-rock bands like Foghat (especially their early work). By this point it's obvious that these three guys work well together and it's testament to how a good old fashioned power trio can't be beaten when they are at the top of their game. The slower blues of 'Resurrected' is one of the strongest tracks here - worth investigation alone - and in a magical alternate universe, it'd be great to hear Paul Rodgers sing it. Despite the title, 'Drag' really picks up the pace and has elements which sound like a distant relative of the Hendrix classic 'Fire'. It's definitely one of those tunes capturing WLE in full flow. This is tempered very well by the mid-paced qualities of 'Nothing At All', a track featuring one of Samuel's best vocal performances. The soulful 'The Gift' is hands-down my favourite track on the CD. Nothing is over-played or showy and it has a real warmth, which tips a nod in the direction of The Allman Brothers (though it's possible it's only me who thinks that), with some lovely guitar tones. 'Nothing But Blue' brings back the funk groove, with solid rhythms and fluid guitar work. It's definitely got all the chops this kind of rock requires to make the grade.

In Summary
In short, although this CD doesn't break any new musical ground and the band wear their musical influences firmly on their sleeves, you'd be foolish to miss out. If retro grooves are your bag, be sure to drop these guys a line.

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