Following on from his highly regarded singles Honeybee and Left, bluesman John J Presley is back with his debut EP, White Ink. Recorded in one eight hours straight session at Toe Rag Studios with Liam Watson (The White Stripes, The Kills, Tame Impala) whilst on a rare break from tour. “Recording at that hallowed space in London gives you a limited spectrum as you don’t have a thousand plugins to play with or hours to kill. It’s very performance based and the truest sound I’ve ever heard of myself.”
The EP opens with Come to Me, setting the scene for the whole record with its almost primal, but often minimal guitar sounds and Presleys attractive, listenable baritone. There’s stripped down drums, laying down very basic beats as the track ebbs and flows. As it grows so the guitar becomes this thing, this weapon, rumbling and soaring, sometimes all at once.
Come Caling is more in your face, as it rattles away, the blues as with its predecessor at the heart of the track. The guitar speaks once more, coated in feedback, but still this earthy, authentic screech about it. Sweet Superstition shows Presley has a more sedate, calmer nature, his vocal as gruff as it gets in parts as it grows and evolves as it continues.
Rise to my Confession is similarly slow moving, the guitar pleading, the riffs heavy but atmospheric, and leads in to closer Ill at Ease, which is a psych like slow builder, complete with muscular slide guitar and Presleys voice at its most psychotic.
If there were any doubt at all, White Ink proves that John J Presley is the real deal.
White Ink is available digitally from July 24th via Vital Music, and on limited edition vinyl from August 31st.