Record Reviews – Nov 2014 (Part 2)

Record Reviews – Nov 2014 (Part 2)

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Graham Day and The Forefathers

‘Good Things’ – Album

So, here’s the basic idea. A grossly under-rated and overlooked songwriter decides to get a couple of his long-time mates and former band members to join him for a reworking of some of his work spanning over 30 years. They strip it back to basics. Guitar, bass and drums and let rip.

The result is, you end up with six Solarflares tracks, three from The Prisoners, two from The Gaolers and one from Prime Movers. All of them brilliant in their own right, but taken to a new ‘Medway garage’ high on this album.

Graham Day and The Forefathers (they being Allan Crockford and Wolf Howard) have reminded anyone who didn’t know, (or just plain forgot) what incredible musicians they are and what a fine songwriter Graham Day is.

Exuding the principle of ‘don’t think about it, just get it done’, from the off, with ‘The Good Things’, ‘Mary’ and ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Mind’, Graham, Allan and Wolf just tear it up.

All through this 12 track collection, you constantly find yourself marvelling at the power of the trio and at the same time, humming along to a catchy chorus or hook that is the foundation of all great songs.

It is a very neat trick to be able to play with such force and such skill so as not to lose the finer qualities of a tune. That takes experience, of which Graham, Allan and Wolf have bucket loads.

When I said at the start that this was a ‘basic idea’, it has turned into a brilliant idea and a great album.

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The Franklys

What You Said – Single

Those of you who have been listening to the Nutscast Sessions will know this band were the first to appear live in our studio. Those who may have turned their noses up because the Franklys are a rock band are missing the point.

The point is, myself via my reviews and the New Untouchables have backed this band for best part of two years because we recognised the genuine potential in their debut EP. We saw the same potential in The Strypes when no one would give them a second look.

So here we are, two years on and guess what? The mainstream is all over The Franklys. NME, XFM, Absolute Radio and many others have only now twigged what we knew all along. The Franklys are a band destined to hit big very soon. This sudden wave of interest is due to ‘What You Said’, the new single available on digital download.

Following on from the brilliant ‘Puppet’ earlier in the year, this new track sees the girls developing a recognised ‘sound’.

Zoe Biggs’s haunting heavy bass lines, Nicole Pinto doing what good drummers do; make their instrument so much more than a time-keeper. The pocket-sized bundle of dynamite that is Fanny Broburg letting rip with searing lead guitar work and Jen Ahlkvist continues with her bitter-sweet and ever-so-edgy vocals.

Yes, The Franklys are closer to the Foo Fighters than The Jam, but so what? There is always room for a great rock band and more so for a great all-female rock band. Mark my words, 2015 will be a big year for The Franklys.

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The Wicked Whispers

Maps Of The Mystic – Album

For those of you who did not make it to Crossfire back in October, you really missed a great show. The Wicked Whispers played a fair chunk of this, their debut album at the official London launch.

Nutsmag Reviews has highlighted this band once before. It was last year with the release of their marvellous single ‘Voodoo Moon’ b/w ‘Nightbird’.

I’m so delighted to say, the promise shown on that single has materialised onto this album.

2014 has been a vintage year for new music in my humble opinion, and for Wicked Whispers to produce ‘Maps Of The Mystic’ as we head toward the tail end of the year, just highlights what outstanding quality has come from all quarters and most of it ignored by the mainstream. (No surprise there!)

While the band comprises of Mike Murphy, Toby Virgo, Steven Penn, Andrew Smith and Nathan Sayer, it is Murphy who is clearly the driving force. He wrote all the songs and produced the album, which is no mean feat considering the complexity of some of the arrangements.

It says much about the abilities of Virgo, Penn, Smith and Sayer that they can match Murphy’s vision and ambitions musically.

The recent single ‘Chronological Astronaut’ leads the way, and a fine upbeat track it is too. Equally upbeat and just as good are the songs ‘You Wouldn’t Believe’ and ‘Odyssey Mile’.

It’s when the band show their softer side that Michael Murphy’s song writing really comes to the fore. The title track ‘Maps Of The Mystic’, ‘Flying ‘Round In Circles’ and ‘Amanda Lavender’ beautifully display Murphy’s ability to find a melody and work with words. If his aim is to paint musical and lyrical pictures, I have to say he has achieved it with ease.

In a year of brilliant albums, this one has to be right up there with the best.

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New Street Adventure

No Hard Feelings – Album

It seems barely believable that three years have passed since the first time I saw New Street Adventure at The Barfly, Camden. After the show that night lead singer Nick Corbin gave me a copy of a cd the band had just released. It was called ‘Just The Kind Of People’, a four track EP. It was brilliant and sat very well alongside other contemporary bands with a soulful flavour.

It did seem that New Street Adventure (NSA) was set to conquer all in their path. What happened? Who knows? In the blink of an eye, one of the most talked-about bands almost disappeared.

They did, however, sign to Acid Jazz Records which is fortunate because at least they were with a label populated by people who still regard music as an art form. (Not something you could accuse major labels of.)

So after a lot of hard work and a few line up changes, NSA are finally back with their debut album.

Let me say from the outset; this was well worth the wait. All the potential that I and all the other NSA fans saw three or four years ago is all wrapped up in this sumptuous collection of soul flavours.

Nick Corbin has lost none of his acidic anger and whit with his lyrical content and those he aims at are hit fore-square.

Of course the most recent single, ‘On Our Frontdoorstep’ leads the way, and that mixture of Northern Soul-inspired rhythms and hard-edged social commentary is a feature of this album.

But while ‘Be Somebody’ and ‘She’s An Attraction’ could get you dancing, the softer side of NSA is no more evident than in my favourite track right now. ‘Say You’re Lonely’ is one of the finest ballads I’ve heard all year. It draws you in and gives you goose bumps by the end of the song. (Well, it did to me.)

‘No Hard Feelings’ has been a long time in the making, but it been worth the wait. Now they are back on track, let’s hope NSA build on the success of this LP.

I do have one minor point to make though, I still prefer the 2011 version of ‘The Big AC’.


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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November 16, 2014 By : Category : Bands,Front Page,Music,Reviews Tags:, , , , ,
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