Say hello to the truly dynamite Cinelli Bothers, who trade in an against-the-current-grain oldschool blues that hits home in truly refreshing fashion. Marco, 33 wields his Eastwood axe like an swamp prowler while Alessandro, 29, handles the kit like a young Buddy Rich.The brothers hail form Italy but now call London home. They have tapped into the type of high energy, nasty blues once spun by Dr. Feelgood and early Ian Dury, bringing back enthusiasm for a this all important genre. The familial tie allows them to jam effortlessly on their original music and their cover endeavors, adding in bass rumbles, harmonica blasts, and organic keys to round out their sound.
The Cinelli’s developed a passion for the blues as young boys. The band was born out of a shared love for the electric Chicago and Texas strains from ’60s and ’70s. Marco and Alessandro play with different musicians to evoke the music of this era, while adding in modern flourishes. This is a band that would have been easily been signed up to Stax or Motown back in the day, but now find themselves tirelessly playing club gigs in Paris and the rest of France, a country always hungry for the dirtier corners of any roots music, and in their adopted city of London Town. Brother Marco’s ultra-smooth style reminds one of the greats like Otis Rush and Junior Wells, and his vocals can swing from rock-steady, workman-like delivery to nearly untethered emotion in the space of one song, or even one verse.
They dropped their LP, Babe Set Your Alarm, last year. The full-length release consists of 9 cracking originals and 3 tasty covers including a soulful version of Prince’s “Kiss”. The title track bursts out of the gait with unflinchingly bold guitar playing. He sings in his raspy, night-smoked voice:
Set your alarm for 2:30 in the morning
I am playing out of town tonight
But you know when I get back I will be yearning
Singing about the trials of remaining faithful while being a musician may be a familiar theme in blues music, yet the Cinelli’s offer a modern, edgier take with guitars that sound like they are crying and drums that aren’t rushed but pop in perfect time.
Are making me wise
So goes “Your Lies”, song that plays out like a paranoid, borderline-savage dreamscape that winds it’s way around a lover’s treachery with a pummeling forward momentum. It’s an old-fashioned blues tune of the finest pedigree, and betrays years of obsessive listening and dedication in its arrangement.
While not on this album, they do a towering take on The Stones’ “Sway” that would make Mick and Keef quite proud if they should happen to stumble into a Hackney club late one night for a pint.
2019 finds the Cinelli’s doing what they do, which is blasting out venues from England to France to Italy and back. We can only hope they take a breather and find some time to lay down new tracks, because the nine they’ve laid down thus far have been whiskey and late night, hellhound on my trail perfection.