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Sabatta - How To Get Even (Blackfriars Entertainment)

11 December 2023

Like most music scribblers, I get bombarded with the sonic output of artists who seem to be more concerned with looking clever and acting cool than getting on with the job at hand. Worse still, there is also a whole tranche of them – image-obsessed indie kids, harder-than-though rappers, earnest metallers and pop wannabees – who seem to value style over substance and have probably spent longer in marketing meetings and make-up chairs than actually learning their musical craft.

Thank god for Sabatta and his ilk, artists who just know how to get on with the task at hand, especially when the task at hand is to put out short, sharp and shockingly good singles and then bring them all together into albums that are, as the youth might put it, all killer, no filler.

How To Get Even is just such an album: twelve musical missives built on sassy grooves, incendiary riffs, sultry guitar licks and that awesome yet accessible vocal delivery. It’s the sound that rock ‘n ‘ roll made its reputation on in the first place before people tried to get too big and too clever.

And, ironically, his deceptively simple and direct style is big and clever. It’s big because Sabatta understands how musical dynamics work, the ebb and flow of velocity and volume, and, more than anything, the power of space. And clever, too, clever enough to cut to the chase, get to the point and reel the listener in.

Singles such as “Get Your Shit Together” and “Get Over Yourself” prove themselves to be anything but merely the best of the bunch put out to sell the record. Instead, they are just two of many selections that could have been sent out to tease the audience and test the water. “Plugged In” is all staccato riffs and swaggering grooves, “Take You There” packs more rock and roll integrity into its almost two-minute duration than many so-called rockers amount to on whole albums, and away from the foot on the monitor, kick arse rockers, “Here I Go Again” shows that more low-slung, soul-blues seductions are never far out of reach.

If you think that the ancient art of rock and roll have been forgotten in an age of tech and marketing meetings, studio gimmicks and social media, Sabatta is here to show you just how wrong you are.

How To Get Even album
Get Over Yourself