Who said that you cannot combine passions like martial arts with rock and roll and perform them both at an outstanding level of ability? Guitarist and singer/songwriter Kris Barras certainly know well how to make a lifestyle recipe like this to work until 2014, when he retired from his cage fighting activity and fully focusing solely on music.
Somebody that has never been shy to live his life at full throttle, Barras has loved music and martial arts since a very early stage of his life, opting for the latter when he realized, at some point, that bookings for cage fighting were coming more often than live touring as a musician, until his change of direction in 2014.
Despite his young age, Barras has already dealt with lots of personal experiences leaving painful scars in his life and perhaps, embracing again in full his love for music, was something that came just about at the right time, emotionally and professionally, in the life of the UK-based artist.
The outcome of this new beginning in Kris Barras' career culminated in the release of a stunning record called The Divine And Dirty. His debut album with Mascot Label Group/Provogue under the name of The Kris Barras Band, sees this highly skilled guitarist and singer/songwriter penning a series of excellent songs reflecting, sonically, his extensive musical background, from Southern Rock to Soul and Blues/Rock.
One of the biggest skills showcased by Barras on The Divine And Dirty album is the remarkable capacity to write songs incorporating different styles, able to embrace different age ranges and also cleverly built to easily reach a lot of radio airplay too. To be able to achieve these artistic goals, while still respecting the artist's musical roots and lifting them to a more contemporary level, that is a clear sign of natural, inner talent.
The album's opener Kick Me Down gives already many hints to the listeners about what they can expect from a The Kris Barras Band album. The song is an amped-up Blues/Rock tune that gradually steers towards more firm Rock territories, with great bridges and choruses sustaining Barras' strong vocals, the latter being one of the greatest revelations of the whole record.
One of the tunes for which The Divine And Dirty will be certainly remembered in years to come is the fist-pumping Hail Mary, with its anthemic 80's Classic Rock feeling carried splendidly throughout the whole song by Barras and his band. A perfect example of how this young artist is able to marry clever songwriting with addictive choruses and powerful layers of sound.
The Divine And Dirty mirrors, lyrically speaking, exceptionally well what Kris Barras has been through in the last decades of his life, expressing the emotional roller coaster the artist has been living through songs that would underline his determination in following his dreams (I Don't Owe Nobody Nothing) or his hope that somebody up there (a personal loss he had in the recent past) would be guiding him in the right direction through life (Watching Over Me).
As a guitarist, nobody has ever debated the exceptional talent of Kris Barras but as a vocalist, not many were aware of his incredible vocal range, something that Barras showcases so well on The Divine And Dirty. Songs like Propane, the semi-acoustic Hold On For Tomorrow and Blood On Your Hands display versatility, power and intensity in equal measure, defining Barras as one of the most mature, complete and gifted artists of Rock And Roll's Nouvelle Vague.
Barras has certainly chosen a highly skilled group of musicians for The Kris Barras Band and it is important to mention that, from a sound perspective, the great job made by the guitarist and singer/songwriter on this album would have not be completed without the marvelous musical support made by drummer Will Beavis, bass player Elliott Blackler and keyboardist Josiah J Manning, especially on songs like Wrong Place, Wrong Time and Stitch Me Up, among many others.
The Divine And Dirty is not just one of the most entertaining and exceedingly well played, recorded and arranged albums of 2018 to date, but it is also a detailed insight of the personality and musical understanding of a young artist that has got, undoubtedly, a highly promising future ahead of him. A record of remarkable beauty.
The Divine And Dirty is out on 6th April 2018 via Mascot Label Group / Provogue