John Butler Trio

"April Uprising"

(Jarrah); Roots Rock

By ​Phil ​Bennett

A break from endless touring, the rediscovery of his roots on the Who Do We Think We Are TV show, and the replacement of his six year rhythm section has meant big changes for the John Butler Trio.

Which means that fans of JBT are going to get John Butler plus two other people.

But how important to the sound are his fellow members? That remains to be seen as his previous lineup had built up that sixth sense that comes from years of playing together and this congregation is still at the getting to know you stage.

Unsurprisingly, since the John Butler Trio really always has been John Butler plus two other people, there is little immediate discernible difference from what has come before.

There's lots of funky feels, some whiplash guitar licks, a swag of thought provoking lyrics, and a catchy chorus or two such as on the wonderful To Look Like You. And it's all highly enjoyable indeed.

Butler's strength has always been in the feel of his music, and here the grooves are pretty well on the button. But there are occasions where it seems there's too much clutter as if the band is trying to compensate for their infancy by being overbearing with their stamp.

As a recording, April Uprising is a fine listen, but you can't help but feel it's a step back from the brilliant Grand National, where it seemed his songwriting had taken that giant leap.

But maybe that's what's needed to take two steps forward. It will be interesting to see how he develops from here.

A very good album - but it could have been much more.

​Phil ​Bennett

Musician, actor, singer, music reviewer, Phil’s interests cover a lot of bases and this is reflected in the music he writes about. From blues to soul, ambient to electronic, Phil writes about artists he feels are interesting, true to their craft and worthy of your ears.