[7 June 2010]
The Kilborn Alley are not the same ragged ‘n’ gritty, beer-soaked blues band who cut Tear Chicago Down three years ago. The Windy City-based five-piece can still kick up a storm as Joe Asselin’s wailing harp and Andy Duncanson’s bluesy growl take centre stage with lusty salaciousness on “Woah Yeah Woman” and “You Can Have the Tail”. However, for the most part, the barroom-blues swagger has been reined in and the deft touches of soul-blues heard on their two previous albums have been let off the leash. Think small, Little Milton and Little Johnny Taylor small, and you’re on the right track. And Better Off Now is all the better for it. Bookended by the band suffering those low-down, credit crunch blues on “Nothin’ Left to Stimulate” and a cover of John Brim’s “Tough Times”, highlights include the shuffling country-blues gait of “Foolsville”, the soulful title-track, with guest organist Eric Michaels taking it to the church, and the wonderfully titled R&B instrumental “Bubble Guts”.