Tag: mod

Record review: The Hurricanes

THE HURRICANES Let’s Go! [self-released] Recorded in their practice room, Northampton quartet The Hurricanes – aka Robert Jones [singing/guitar], Dammo Clarke [guitar], Neil Robinson [drums], and Tony Norton [bass] – have unleashed…

THE HURRICANES
Let’s Go! [self-released]

Recorded in their practice room, Northampton quartet The Hurricanes – aka Robert Jones [singing/guitar], Dammo Clarke [guitar], Neil Robinson [drums], and Tony Norton [bass] – have unleashed their debut album after a quiet period of gestation. Songs were worked on, refined, and put to tape over the past year, away from the glare of expectation. 

Three-quarters of the band cut their teeth in local ’90s Britpopish band Collide, but it is the mod revival sound of ’79 onwards that The Hurricanes mine for their sound. The Prisoners probably sit at the head of that table, as the opening [title] track sets out. Slashing power chords, agitated vocals, a pummelling rhythm section: it’s all here. And the band The Prisoners are usually mentioned alongside – The Jam – is there on track two, ‘This Is The Time’, with the 100 Club spit’n’pogo energy, alongside a no holds-barred rumbling bassline. A handclap breakdown appears mid-song too, giving it a dose of The Chords-esque soul in amongst the bludgeoning guitar noise.

‘Felicity Paige’ has a great, undeniable chorus chant, straight out of the Graham Day handbook. Robinson’s drumming is the key to this stomper, all elbows flying about in the authentic Moon-style. ‘Is There A Why In Your Mynd?’ gives a nod to The Creation, The Eyes and John’s Children with a ’60s freakbeat vigour and stinging fuzz solo. It goes a bit psychedelic at the end too, which is a nice touch. The aggression is toned down somewhat on ‘Staring At The Stars’, with a forlorn lead vocal and some sweet Who-esque backing vocal lines. It’s quite reminiscent of former Prisoner Allan Crockford’s contemporary band The Galileo 7, actually. ‘Taking Care of Business’ is a good summation of what’s happening throughout this album.

Considering this is effectively a home production, with resultant occasionally muddy sound [proper authentic garage-band, you might say] Let’s Go! is something to be properly proud of. It’s direct hits from the past, yesterdays’s sound tomorrow. And jolly, vibrant good fun it is too. They ain’t half bad live too, should you get a chance to catch them.

Phil Istine

PS. current Northampton Saints coach Chris Boyd was appointed whilst still boss of New Zealand team The Hurricanes, based in Wellington. A cosmic coincidence, worthy of a brief mention.

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Record review: Paul Weller ‘True Meanings’

PAUL WELLER True Meanings [Parlophone] He’s always been a hard worker, but still: these feel like prolific times for Weller. Working in continuous collaboration seems to fire him up, as…

PAUL WELLER
True Meanings [Parlophone]

He’s always been a hard worker, but still: these feel like prolific times for Weller. Working in continuous collaboration seems to fire him up, as this is his third album in 20 months. It’s a song from the first of those, ‘The Ballad Of Jimmy McCabe’ from his Jawbone soundtrack, which revealed a slight return to Weller’s folk balladeer side, after years of experimenting with the cutting up of rock this way and that. 

It was composing, a few years back, ‘Gravity’ – the lush, orchestrated, melancholic centre of True Meanings – that gave Weller the determination to construct an album in a far more bucolic style. ‘Gravity’ truly is a stunning, delicate 150 seconds of music, with an immaculate and precise string arrangement courtesy of decade-long sideman Andy Crofts. This sideman/woman influence is repeatedly important to this, his 14th solo album, as fairly demonstrated on bubbling opener ‘The Soul Searchers’: a modern string arrangement by the avant-garde musician Hannah Peel, multiple contributions from Villagers’ Conor O’ Brien, and an old-school Hammond solo by Rod Argent.

The album settles in well. Jazzer ‘Mayfly’ has a deft bluesy guitar solo from the former Jam guitarist Steve Brookes to enliven proceedings, whilst ‘Old Castles’ has a soul-stirring strings-assisted group arrangement that recalls his Heliocentric days back in the year 2000. ‘What Would He Say?’ is a lounge-shuffler that seems directed at the importance of keeping positive when bitterness is the easier option. It’s also the sole “The Moons track” on the album, as it unites bassist Crofts with Ben Gordelier on drums and Tom Heel on his Rhodes piano. Though the flugel horn solo means you aren’t mistaken who’s in charge!

‘Aspects’ is a serious piece of rumination, a Buddhist-like realisation of beauty/God coming from within. It’s a nod to Leonard Cohen and Cat Stevens, minor-chord patterns facing off with choral harmonies and swooping string lines. It also is, to put it bluntly, gorgeous, and worth the entry price alone. As the second half of the album begins there’s a couple of Erland Cooper [of prog-folkies Erland and the Carnival] collaborations that don’t quite hit the mark, and the album briefly drifts. Nothing to worry about though: here’s folk royalty Danny Thompson and Martin Carthy to breathe life into the ornate melody of ‘Come Along’, with Peel producing a fine Robert Kirby-style orchestral adjunction to some already heavily emotive moments in sound.

The last section of the album is a full of discovery, too. ‘Books’ adds sitar, Tampoura and Noel Gallagher on, er, pump organ to send us eastwards on a kaleidoscopic journey, whilst ‘Movin On’ has a lovely soaring vocal performance from the main man, who clearly still cares about what he has to deliver. ‘May Love Travel With You’ brings things around again: voice, guitar, and some widescreen Disney orchestration. Weller soundtracking your kids bedtime? Why not, he knows quite a bit about parenting. Closer ‘White Horses’ brings back Cooper, Argent and Gallagher for a finale that seals the deal: a fable about generosity directed at a younger audience, it’s a touching finish to an album that surprises throughout.

It was interesting to hear Weller dismiss last year’s well-received A Kind Revolution as merely “alright” in a recent issue of Mojo. Perhaps he knew how good the follow-up was going to be, and felt a moment of guilt. Maybe he was right though: whilst everyone has a different take on what the best Weller album/period is, True Meanings makes a robust case for being his best since his last 22 Dreams/Wake Up The Nation-era highpoint. Certainly there’s little doubt it will score high in many end of year polls.

Phil Istine

Live photo of Weller/Crofts by David Jackson

 

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New Music Friday: The Keepers

Northampton quartet The Keepers release their fourth single this weekend. The A-side ‘Take Me On A Trip’ is a moody paean to the joys of escapism, wrapped up in desert…

Northampton quartet The Keepers release their fourth single this weekend. The A-side ‘Take Me On A Trip’ is a moody paean to the joys of escapism, wrapped up in desert rock guitars. B-side ‘Leaving Home’ is more of a Britpop/Beatle-esque pop song with some nifty artificial string lines in the chorus. You can hear both below. New Boots caught up with Jordan Jones (vocals, guitar) and Liam Taylor (guitars) for a quick chat

How did you guys get together?
Jordan: I formed the band a couple of years ago. I just had a few songs that thought would sound cool with a full band behind them. It’s been a long process really trying out different members.

How would you describe your sound?
Jordan: 1960s psychedelia with a 90’s kiss.
Liam: Yeah. Indie Britpop with an add of Psychedelic

Who are your main influences in music?
Liam: Wilko Johnson, Paul Weller, and Pete Townsend

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Jordan: ‘Wildlife’ by The Lovely Eggs
Liam: ‘The Masterplan’ by Oasis

What was the inspiration for ‘Take Me On A Trip’ and ‘Leaving Home’?
Jordan: ‘Take Me On A Trip’ is a recycled song we used to play a few years ago, we needed a more groovy and heavier sounding song, so I just took that, changed the words and added some extra riffs. ‘Leaving Home’ is inspired by The Beatles song ‘She’s Leaving Home’. We all know the original from a very upset mum and dad perspective. I had this concept of the song from the girls perspective – it sticks to main themes of the original like leaving the note, the man in the motor trade etc, but I’ve had to add a few bits like getting married and running away from university which I think makes it slightly more modern.

Being on stage vs being in the studio, which do you do prefer?
Jordan: studio
Liam: stage all the way; I love the atmosphere and the interaction with the crowd.

What has been your favourite band moments so far?
Jordan: Supporting The Moons at Roadmender, Space at The Picturedrome and playing Beano On The Sea festival down Hastings.
Liam: Supporting The Moons and The Spitfires

What plans do you have for 2018?
Jordan: We have some very exciting things coming up this year! We have more singles coming out and some fantastic gigs we cannot announce yet! Watch this space!

 

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