LIGHTNING ROD RECORDS 7th April 2017
Somewhere between Indie and American classic rock, like Teenage Fanclub meet Creedence Clearwater Revival meet The Hold Steady meet The Replacements in the heart of Springsteen. With ten years together, they still say that making music together is easy and there is a polished ease to the melodies that slip out, yet it doesn’t detract from the Memphis beat and snap to the music and punchy choruses. This is a very accomplished album, carrying all the marks of the best vintage bands while remaining timeless in vigour.
This album is so good, so right, that it is really hard to write about. Pretty much all the songs are wedged in my brain and it all runs by so perfect that it isn’t easy to do more than just say how great it is.
From the opening single, Talk Like That, a rushing slab of pop-punk punctuated with parping horns, this is packed with tunes and the hooks pour out. Bottle Rocket is another pop-punk number, based on a blues riff and silver medallist of the half-a-dozen standout tracks. The one to sample, the best on the album, is Gold Don’t Rust. Packing a punch in the verse but taking off even further in the chorus, it’s a “we’re in the band” song, hymning the joy of playing with your friends on stage. “This one’s for us, ‘cos gold don’t rust”.
Ike is a cool, finger-snapping song. Reminds me of the best of the New Wave bands of the early eighties or elder statesmen like Nick Lowe or Graham Parker. The style carries through to Start It Up, which, from the same era, is like a beefed up XTC, Vapors or Joe Jackson. Hands On The Radio is a street ballad of lost love and Sevens has a sweet melody line that sticks and melancholy lyrics about childhood fields being built on, etc: “You said we were invincible but now my hair’s falling out”. The closest to a big contemporary pop ballad is The One.
The songs here are exceptionally well-crafted, the guitar lines are concise and strong, the riffs are catchy, the lyrics carry a freight of emotion and it all leads beautifully to the closer, Don’t Be Sad: “There’s enough of us scrumpled up people that we’ll find someone”. “Nothing but emptiness and cigarettes”.