It’s easy to forget, what with the army of folk, country, pop, hip hop and dance music that floods our ears every day via the radio stations, that there is a genre of music that we Brits do better than anyone else on the planet. The genre that comes from giving a bunch of kid’s some musical instruments and letting them play, experiment and create music based on what their record collections are at home. I suppose this is called ‘indie’ music (in America it’s ‘garage’ of course) and there is a rich history of it stemming way back to people like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Smiths (and countless others) and coming right up to date with bands like Arctic Monkeys and Bloc Party. There was a whole movement of bands in the mid-’90s with Oasis, Blur fighting it out for chart supremacy.
Fast forward a few years and these influences will trickle down into what the next generation of musicians will add to their music.
This brings us up to now.
Riviera Arcade is a three-piece band from Swindon and Bristol that have such a tight understanding of the recipe for indie, that every track on their debut album, ‘Gone By 10’ sounds like a who’s who of the last twenty years. Add to this some street-smart lyrics, you’ve got a strong band who hopefully can plug away and find a strong following.
We start with ‘Desensitised’ that opens with a clever bass intro reminiscent of a 70’s punk band, which comes as a welcomed surprise before opening into a clever indie tune. There is little space for the music to move and shift about, three instruments are always going to be tricky, but it works and is a strong opener.
There are hints of The Fratelli’s here and there – particularly on ‘Good For Her’ with its whistle solo – and The Arctic Monkeys (check ‘Never Knew Her Name’ for energetic drive) and Hard-Fi approach to songwriting shines through, but this is good. Actually, it’s difficult to find any kind of fault within the nine songs, at times there could be a little support for vocalist Daniel James, but as a package, it all works, the songs are catchy, the bass/guitar/drum trio never repeat each other or get in each other’s way.
‘Never Be Another’ has a Style Council summery feel and is easy to ‘bob’ along to, while ‘Taxi Rank Blues’ returns to the bass solo intro (good work by Theo Hayes here) before spinning into a Sex Pistols vocal delivery as drummer George House-English pushes it all along with clever fills. All in all, this is a solid indie album, there could have been some clever production tricks thrown in, but it is what it is and what it delivers is a raw indie album that improves with each listen (I’m on my fourth listen as I write this review). Top work fellas, more please!