Santa Cruz – Album Premiere and Acoustic Gig

Tucked behind Camden’s Electric Ballroom is a funky little venue called The Stillery, where the lovely folk at Spinefarm Records had invited Planet MoshSanta Cruz Album Launch - The Stillery, Camden - 18NOV14-10 for the worldwide album premiere of Finnish band Santa Cruz’s second album, for which the band themselves only received the master copy four days earlier.

The album is as yet untitled and the track listing order has yet to be agreed on. In addition to which, there is currently no release date, but uncertainties aside Johnny, Archie, Middy and Taz treated us to three acoustic tracks from the album ahead of the play back. They performed singles ‘We Are The Ones Who Fall’ and ‘Wasted and Wounded’ and sandwiched in between them, the first live playing of another Santa Cruz Album Launch - The Stillery, Camden - 18NOV14-4track from the album ‘Can You Feel The Rain’, which is one of the ballad like tracks on the album, which is not light, slow or soppy, but is a really nice track and I think a good choice to provide something a little different on the release.

The two great aforementioned singles are of course on the long awaited second album and are a great introduction to the release and hark back to the first album, however (and I mean this in a good way) the rest of the album is much heavier like earlier tracks on their debut album ‘Screaming For Adrenaline’, with lots of strong chords and shredding from Archie and Johnny, backed by the voluminous rhythm section of Taz on drums and Middy on bass.Santa Cruz Album Launch - The Stillery, Camden - 18NOV14-1

The first track we were played has to remain the first track on the release, it was an epic album opener of full on hard rock guitar riffage, which continues throughout the album. Some tracks are more eighties influenced in terms of sound (such as one I think might be called ‘Six Feet Under’ based on the chorus) and also in terms of guitar solo style. There are guitar solos on practically every song, which some might consider a bit much, but they are decent solos.

For me there was only one track that did not seem quite up to the standard of the others, but for a second album this promises to be a very accomplished release. Santa Cruz said to us in our interview with them the day before, that with this album they feel like they have found the Santa Cruz sound, which they had not quite realised on the first album.

As a band some UK national media outlets have already too quickly judged Santa Cruz on their look alone, this is not a fair conclusion to make for this second album does not match the look and its perceived sound. It’s harder, heavier and faster with more meaningful lyrics than the likes of those produced by some of their fellow countrymen. I for one think it is a great album, one that certainly needs to be played loudly to educate those skeptics and I would already put this in my top five albums of 2015!


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About Heather Fitsell

I have been photographing bands predominantly in the London area since 2008. I have photographed in venues as small as pubs and as big as Manchester MEN arena. I have photographed local bands and the likes of Whitesnake, Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy, Black Stone Cherry, Alterbridge, Evanescence and many more. I have also photographed at Hevy Fest for the last two years and previously ran my own webzine, before I decided to focus more on my photography.