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A fierce contender for best debut of the year has just thrown its hat into the ring. That may sound like fighting talk, but it’s a challenge that former cage fighter and martial artist, Kris Barras more than relishes.

Barras is a complete natural, delivering each track with the ease of an artist who already has a vast back catalogue. But, Kris Barras is not a Johnny come lately to music. Barras started playing the guitar at the age of six and subsequently performed with bands into his 20s; even touring the east coast of America and cutting an album. However, the time wasn’t right then; his fighting career started to take off, and so his musical dream took a backseat.

Inside and outside the ring, the knock and blows of life have evidently enriched his music. Kick Me Down is the incendiary album opener that heralds the beginning of his new musical chapter. Rammed with soul, rock and blues the track sets the scene for a varied and diverse album that never fails to deliver. Hail Mary and I Don't Owe Nobody Nothing demonstrate Barras' passion and dedication to music. Wrong Place, Wrong Time turns the album away from the blues-rock notes towards jazz while Lovers or Losers cranks up the southern rock feel showing the full pallet of music that this band play - and boy, can they play.

A lifelong fan of Gary Moore, Barras taps into the classic rock vibe on the album but offers a much needed modern twist on the genre. It's sharp, stylish, stunning blues rock. The final track Watching Over Me is a moving tribute to his late father; who was a significant influence on the young Kris. It’s further proof that this hard man or rock n’ roll isn’t afraid to pull punches or wear his heart on his sleeve.

In a world where many modern artists never make it past three rounds, The

Devine and the Dirty is an album from an artist who is destined for longevity: rock music has a new champion, and his name is Kris Barras.

Groupie Rating 5/5

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