Sometimes, the calibre of a band is immediatley apparent as soon as you drop the virtual needle on the digital record. This is one of those times. As Silent Island kicks things off, it is clear that the band in question, All Day Sucker, know their way around a tune. But then there may be something in the water where they hail from. The halls of their alma mater, University High, have, across the years, echoed with the footsteps of everyone from John Densmore and Robby Krieger of the Doors to Darby Crash and Pat Smear of the Germs, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth to Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction. Good company, indeed.
But an excellent creative company does not have a record made, so it must be the decades of experience and the serious bundle of talent found in the band. Yes, that’s more likely to be it.
And for a band formed in the cradle of the American music scene, there is something wonderfully British about them, as if they were a long over-looked outfit from the New Wave, New Pop scene this side of the water, as the 70’s clicked over into the 80s. Wilt is a classic example of this, a song that Elvis Costello would have knocked you to the ground to get his hands on, chirpy, cheeky, buoyant and full of life. Brilliant.
Last Night at Gladstone’s has the same off-kilter quirk that graced XTC’s music…and I should know; I live in the same town, after all. Hardly Any Wonder shows that they can pull off the slow, smooth, soulful, and smouldering whenever they choose to, and Pilgrimage Bridge has echoes of Joe Jackson channelling Paul McCartney all over it.
It’s a great album that manages to blend contemporary pop with classic songwriting, it throws in a touch of musical theatre confidence, no small amount of soul groove and infectious indie moves, muscle (when required) and melody (everywhere you look…I mean, listen.) It’s more than the sum of its parts and the songs resonate so strongly with the listener that it feels like you have been singing a long to them for half your life. It’s great when that happens, dontchathink?