It’s great to hear the various singles and one-off songs as they issue from a band but I’m old school and still view these as just tasters and teasers for the bigger release. A full album gives you a wonderful insight into a band, it acts as a sonic character study, it takes you on a creative journey, one which, if done correctly is full of dynamic meanderings, where the correct placement of one song directly affects the next, where you get to spend some quality time with a band, experience the highs, the lows, the calm and the crazy. That’s why I still like albums.
A Fantastic Way To Kill Some Time is all of these things. And more.
It’s been an interesting and challenging time for Tough on Fridays of late. People have come, people have gone but such is the chaotic nature of live music and such upheavals provide inspiration and evolution. It’s all about the silver linings. And the band who made this album are not the one which I first started writing about, they are not even the one who will take this collection of music forward, which is certainly an exciting prospect.
Whereas the early songs which found their way to me, tracks such as Open My Mind, sparked with a punk swagger, A Fantastic Way… is the sound of a band maturing nicely, even the opening salvo, Party Scene, which drives along like an alt-rock demon is laced with staccato stops and darker energies, is about control as well as speed. And perhaps the most telling song to be found here is Lonely Eyes/Pines, a brooding and reflective number which more than anything else found here speaks of a band already moving away from some of the signature sounds that they have built their sonic empire on. And again, that is exciting in the extreme.
But that isn’t to say that those old ways aren’t still in evidence. Last Chance to Lose Your Keys is a wonderfully staccato, new-wave-infused blast of slick and accessible rock with some wonderfully pop sensibilities and My Favourite Mistake is a fantastic blast of on-off rock power and attitude. But then songs like Patches show that not everything has to be geared towards the sound of the single and such heartfelt, downbeat diary entries also have their place on an album, especially if going out on a high sounds too obvious!
A Fantastic Way… is the sound of a band doing its growing up in public and there is a wonderful honesty and openness about that. Through it you can chart youthful exuberance turning into more deeply thought out expression, fire-brand energy being steered through deeper experiences and heart-on-sleeve emotional narratives. For now Tough on Fridays are still an alternative rock band, although one of the more interesting ones that you might stumble across, but who knows what they might be by the time they have another album to release. And that is the most truly exciting aspect of all.