As London returns to life after the horrific bombings of last Thursday so does Londonist to bring you our 'insightful and necessary' views on this week's bag of new releases. With the major labels obviously unwilling to put any big indie albums up against the might of the latest Charlotte Church offering it allows us to cast our nets a little further afield and choose a collection of more eclectic releases this week than usual.
Never The Bride - Surprise
If you are a hardened indie afficienado then look away because Never The Bride are firmly rooted in classic 70's rock. Bristol born Nikki Lamborn (Voice) and Glaswegian Catherine 'Been' Feeney (Keys/Guitar) met at a London pub jam session and have gone on to support ZZ Top, The Pretenders and The Who. Nikki also appeared on Channel 4's Faking It coaching a Cambridge choir girl in becoming a rock singer.
Lamborn has one of those voices built for big classic rock songs, a husky rasp, reminiscent of Whitesnake's David Coverdale crossed with Janis Joplin. Musically we're back in a time when all choruses had an inbuilt 'lighters in the air' clause and guitarists were contractually obliged to throw shapes at every opportunity. Never The Bride draw from the 70s US/British blues based stadium rock sound; equal parts bombast and melody. Think Tina Turner, Foreigner, Steve Miller, there are some touches of Magnum in there we're sure and of course, it's hard not to draw comparisons with Heart, whose grandoise pop rock Never The Bride share many attributes with, although not quite as OTT as say Alone. We realise that this will not be to everyone's taste, this is a style of music much maligned in the 'cool indie press' but if any of the names we've already mentioned perk your interest then you'll love this.
There are the requisite slow burners such as When It's All Too Late and Ruthless And Beautiful which for a brief moment almost hangs off an REM hook. The Living Tree shows Lamborn doing her best Shirley Bassey on a Bond Theme that never was and I'm Coming Home has a gentle country folk lilt to it that's not entirely unpleasing even to this Metal Hardened Londonist. It's not particularly our cup of tea but then again we didn't exactly throw it across the room either. You though, dear reader, can make your own minds up by checking out some Never The Bride sounds here.
Brian Setzer - Rockabilly Riot Volume 1
Ah great, rockabilly. So here's something else we don't know too much about. What we do know is that Brian Setzer has been flying the rockabilly standard in the face of popular culture since he formed The Stray Cats back in the 80s and brought quiffs back to Top Of The Pops. He kindly defines rockabilly on the liner notes as:
the musical bastard of rhythm and blues, hillbilly, country, gospel, and maybe even a little jazz sung by wild-eyed southern white boys with too much time and too little money just lookin' for trouble.
Well that pretty much sums up things here.
Drawn between 1954 and 1957 the 23 songs here represent Setzer's choice of the finest of the Sun Records rockabilly years. He's returned to the original arrangements and set ups to create an album that sounds as timeless as it is completely out of time. Close your eyes for a second and you're suddenly in a world of swirling skirts, cardigans, malt shakes and Thunderbirds. There are many more songs here you'll recognise than you think you might: Blue Suede Shoes (although with Elvis's pop sheen removed to let the original swing shine through), Glad All Over, Mona Lisa, Get Rhyth and Real Wild Child, a couple of tracks you think you recognise and a whole bunch of stuff that's going to wash over you in a wave of jangly guitars, echoing voices, be bops, boo bops, wah oohs, double stops and stop starts.
Each track is a perfect example of catchy, danceable bubblegum pop and Setzer restores each gem with the loving care and attention of an antique painting expert. It does however begin to grate on our ears after a while. But grab any number of tracks after a Pimms too many and you're sure to get your summer BBQ jigging. We're going to give Brian album of the week because this is just so damn summery and it's such a beautiful day right now. No London dates as yet.
All American Rejects - Move Along
So from Memphis to Stillwater, Oklahoma and another dose of perky punk emopop courtesy of The All American Rejects. Stillwater? Wasn't the band from Almost Famous. Indeed it was, which has nothing whatsoever to do with these four youngsters other than they are quite possibly almost famous. Most likely with teenagers with a couple of lip rings.
There's nothing intrinsically wrong with this record. There are the odd glimmers of Leppard influenced cock rock which is always fun. But there's nothing intrinsically right with it too. It suffers far too much from that anodyne Good Charlotte sound currently being used to push mass produced pop-punk on the pissed-off post-pubescents of the planet. At it's best(Dirty Little Secret) it comes over as Weezer doing Fightstar covers with a touch of early Feeder thrown in for good measure, at it's worst it's indistinguishable from pretty much anything currently showing on MTV2 (Dance Inside). And if we ever have to listen to something as dreary as Straightjacket Feeling again we're going to fill our ears with wax and move to a Buddhist monastary.
Maybe we're just too old but we're off to listen to the Sufjan Stevens album again. Same time same place next week?
You can listen to The All American Rejects here.
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