When a band is described to me as sounding like the combination of Catherine Wheel and Swervedriver, with a bit of Foo Fighters, you will definitely get my attention. There is something about the guitar driven rock from those bands that I have always loved. This happened to be the case for the Scottish band Terra Diablo, and the description was right on target.
The beginnings of Terra Diablo are nothing special, just the typical friends that were less than thrilled with their jobs and began to practice as a band. From that rather generic story spawned some mighty extraordinary moments, which can be heard on their debut, self-titled album. The record begins with “Satellites,” a radio-friendly track that has some opening guitar work very reminiscent to Hum. When the song kicks off, it is impossible to not think of the references mentioned above. Their thick guitars take us back to the mid to late ’90s alternative rock scene, and I totally dig it.
One of my favorites on the album is “My Heart Is In My Hands,” a classic ’90s alternative sounding track on which frontman Ian Fairclough sounds an awful lot like Bob Mould. Is this a long lost Sugar track? Nope, but it is great hearing a band bring that particular sound back to the masses. I can’t help by think of Placebo’s “Meds” during the opening guitar work.
“Can You Hear Them” brings back my thoughts of Hum meets Swervedriver, a combination that makes for some great music. Although the big guitars are still there, they take a backseat to Fairclough’s vocals, which really take center stage during the short acoustic breaks on the track. “Dehumanize” would make Rob Dickinson proud, sounding like it could have been a b-side or missing song taken from Happy Days-era Catherine Wheel. The dark lush guitars and harmonized vocals are right on with the Wheel, walking that fine line between rock cred and mainstream accessibility.
Terra Diablo is a band to keep on your radar, especially if you were a fan of music during the heyday of alternative rock radio ten years ago. As bands such as the Silversun Pickups have proved, American audiences are ready to bring that sound back… and this Scottish quartet may be the next.