Brian Ralston's Selftort are poised to release their latest body of works.
The latest album from Brian Ralston's Self Tort will be launched at Sydney's premier live venue The Basement on Monday November 30th. A great live show featuring the entire album played live for the very first time and some great support from special guests Ros Ward and also Sharlene Rainford. More news as it come to hand!
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"Just having a listen to Brian Ralston's new CD...Well done all involved! Great tunes, great musicianship and so well recorded!
Ross Ward (Wards Express)
ALBUM TITLE: Tortology
ARTIST: Self Tort
REVIEWED BY: Rhonda Readence
ARTIST: Self Tort
REVIEWED BY: Rhonda Readence
Self Tort, otherwise known as Brian Ralston, has succeeded in combining genres such as rock, jazz, blues, and reggae into a pleasing package of 13 songs in the album titled Tortology. Diversity runs rampant in this collection and Self Tort creates a smooth blend of something that is unique to only one individual - Brian Ralston. This album will make you dance, sing, snap your fingers and tap your feet. Self Tort has created a sound that is original and refreshing and the album Tortology will be sure to make listeners of many different genres take heed.
If you can somehow imagine what Joe Cocker coupled with Gerry Garcia would sound like, and then add a dash of Neil Diamond and just a sprinkling of reggae, you can perhaps, just maybe, get somewhat of an idea what Brian Ralston (aka Self Tort) sounds like. It's an odd mix, no doubt, but Brian Ralston, performing as Self Tort, makes it work exceedingly well. The album Tortology opens with the track "Self Sufficient" and the listener is treated to a smooth rhythms that is reminiscent of the funky early 80s or late 70s groove. Ralston's voice is gritty in the best Joe Cocker fashion and it is clear that he is not hesitant to let loose. The sound quality is exceptional and the effects that he uses capture the essence of this song well. The lyrics positively scream of independence, as the title suggests, and the wind chimes during the break are a nice touch. The guitar work is fantastic and it is made evidence with the opening track of Tortology that Brian Ralston is a musician of the finest order.
"Ordinary Rendition" has a reggae flavour to it that will be sure to make listeners think of palm trees, the beach and the ocean. The smooth gentle groove couple with Ralston's slight rough voice is the perfect combination. This piece shows the diversity that Ralston possesses and the fact that he is influenced by a variety of genres and musicians. The head will be bobbing, the feet will be tapping, and this track will leave you feeling good and relaxed as it ends and "Holding Court in King Street" begins. The listener gets a treat with this piece, as Ralston loses some of his rougher vocal edge and smooths it out a bit. His voice in this piece resembles a young Neil Diamond at times and the rhythm is slow and calming. This song is lyrically compelling and thought provoking as Ralston croons about the plight of the homeless. A song of substance and emotion, this track is heartfelt and sincere and Ralston's voice is warm.
"One Hour With You" again proves Ralston's diverse musical influences as this piece has quite a jazzy vibe to it. A snappy little love song, this track is instrumentally simplistic which allows the listener to really focus on the vocals, which are delivered with perfection. The lyrics are sweetly innocent and one may feel empathy while listening to this piece, perhaps remembering summer nights with someone special. Snapping fingers are a must when listening to this one. "Can't Stop Thinking About You" opens with some stellar guitar work that catches the attention immediately, especially after the soft beauty of the preceding track. The melodic rhythm of this fantastically composed love song is wonderful and the lyrics are heartwarming. Listeners will be sure to reminisce about their first love, or perhaps their second, or the love that they currently have - Those first beautiful golden days of falling in love. Ralston does a great job of encompassing human emotions in this song and the slight reggae feel gives it a positive and uplifting beat. "Son of John" is a slow number with excellent guitar work throughout and superb musicianship. Ralston's vocal are strong as well, making this a well rounded piece that embodies much of what Self Tort is about and showcases the talent of Brian Ralston extremely well.
Tortology continues with "Dark Eyes", a funky sort of jam that has a touch of blues, a touch of jazz, and something that can only be described as the entity known as Self Tort. A nice beat carries the song throughout and Ralston's voice is seductive and extraordinarily pleasing. The saxophone is truly what makes this song phenomenal and gives it the bluesy-jazzy feel that will so endear it to the masses. The sound is amazing and the track is exceedingly well composed. "Dark Eyes" is perhaps the signature Self Tort song, the one that immediately comes to mind when one thinks of Brian Ralston and the music he creates. "A Day at the Races" is more of a Joe Cocker inspired piece and Ralston does a great job with the vocals on this one as well. The beat is at times chaotic and at other times rather mellow. The overall feel of this song is one of happily reckless abandon. "What's The Attraction" gives the listener a taste of Ralston's sense of humour. And what a great one it is. Written about Paris Hilton, Ralston lays it all out there and sums up the Paris Hilton fascination perfectly. An upbeat and snappy number with carnival-esque sound effects, this track will no doubt have listeners laughing while still tapping their feet and enjoying the genius of Self Tort.
"A Paris Tale" begins with some great organ work and has a bit of a Doors feel to it as it continues. Ralston's voice is strong and commanding during this piece, perhaps more so than in any other track thus far, and this is a dramatic piece with many change-ups and transitions. Ralston even delves into the rap genre during this track, coupled nicely with some killer guitar work. Once more, Self Tort has crossed musical boundaries that most would not even consider, and Brian Ralston has done it well. "Salvation Carnival" has some of the best instrumentation on the album and the guitar work is simply spectacular. The sound quality is stunning. This track, while slower in tempo, is extremely powerful and emotional. The listener can get a real sense of Ralston's own heart while rocking this tune. Tortology begins to wind to a close with "That's It I've Had Enough", a fast tempo power ballad with lyrics that hit home to just about everyone. This song is about the frustration of life and the hustle and bustle and the sheer overwhelming feeling of simply having enough - Throwing your hands into the air and saying "That's It I've Had Enough". Ralston's sense of humor shows through in this piece as he sings about heading to the pub and getting more than a little drunk.
The final track of the album, "The Jig is Up", ends the album with the same 80s and late 70s vibe that it began with. The sound effects are fascinating and it's an upbeat number - a good choice to close with. The guitar work is once again jaw-dropping and the final track of Tortology truly encompasses all that Self Tort, aka Brian Ralston, has accomplished throughout his career. The sense of diversity and many various influences is evident throughout the album, but it is made abundantly so during the closing song. It's instrumental all the way and it is exceedingly well done. Brian Ralston has managed to combine rock, jazz, blues, reggae, and psychedelic rock into an entity known as Self Tort, and he has done it fantastically well, as is evidenced by the album Tortology. Most musicians choose one genre and stick with it, but Brian Ralston did not enclose himself in that box. He decided to enjoy them all, and consequently, he has opened the door to many different forms of music to all who listen to the brilliant effort that is Tortology.