Released: April 2014
Having cut his teeth as frontman of pop-punk outfit Five O’Clock Heroes, you would expect the debut album of AJ Ellis to be something of a raucous affair. But what Bury the Devil offers is far more revealing than ten tracks of tired barre-chord proto-punk.
Instead his solo outing sees him in more reflective mood, channelling country, folk and blues among other genres.
The songs are simple enough, and built around standard chord structures, but it is hard not to enjoy the Johnny Cash homage that is Dance All Night or the summer strutting of When the Morning Comes.
But listeners beware – Bury the Devil is a mixed affair. The opening four tracks are largely forgettable, and the likes of Hit the Bottom serve only to expose his weaknesses as a singer.
The album does improve as it goes along, but it is far from the coming of age we hoped for. There is real promise here, but it all sounds a little, well, under-cooked.
Ellis certainly has the potential to make a name for himself as a troubadour storyteller on acoustic workouts that Jamie Lenman or aforementioned Cash could enjoy, but it isn’t quite there yet.