June 20, 2024

Regent – ‘Beggars Belief’ – “There’s nothing actually wrong with it”

26th April 2024

April and May feel like a deluge of releases and that’s without the Taylor Swift media caravan. In a Spring with the forthcoming energy and creative joy of The Lovely Eggs, Cowtown, Mammoth Penguins and so on, it’s a struggle to see the point of Regent’s album. There’s nothing actually wrong with it; it just doesn’t seem to have anything new to say, nor does it work the nostalgia market, pleasing old fans. It just is.

Ben Rooke’s lyrics are as angry as any punk band from the seventies, especially as he excoriates the state of the nation’s rulers in the title track. And the rock is fine, if tending to the mid tempo at the outset, in a hard-rock direction, with plenty of tempo shifts, micro-pauses for effect and guitar solos. It’s not all political anger and ‘Freight Train’ is a proper longing love song. I’m actually reminded of early to mid-eighties French New Wavers, Telephone, who managed to channel the ordinary tempos of rock through naive but romantic lyrics into chart success in their Gallic homeland. Sadly, by the third track, things are feeling ploddy. It’s not far from stompy or glam but it just feels earthbound. Vocals are strong, Chris Woolf’s guitar solos are strong and lyrical, if unimaginative and the rhythm section sound like Seventies glam rockers.

I checked the picture and was surprised this wasn’t a set of geezers of Johnny Moped’s vintage (he’s in my mind, with an entertainingly silly album out forty-five years after the only song anyone remembers). The odd song jumps up, like the lighter-waving anthem, ‘Let Me In’ and the utopian rise of ‘Can’t You See’.

There is ambition and talent here but the combination of talents just doesn’t mesh into something either exciting or original. It might appeal to fans of the Gallagher brothers (sample ‘Liberation’), Ride or other nineties bands and if that’s your thing, maybe drop in on ‘Flying High’ and see what you make of it.

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