This up and coming London-based rock quartet didn't seem to get the memo about rock being dead
Hitting the play button and hearing the Feeding The Flame erupt from my speakers, breaking into chorus after just one verse, I know that this is an album I’m going to like. This thunderous opener transports me across decades of rock influences, from the string section complimenting the heavy chords to backing vocals that chant ‘whoa oh’. There’s a drop into minor for the guitar solo, complete with wah pedal and the catchy chorus is driven along by vocalist Paul Muir belting it out like his life depended on it.
This track lets us know a little of what to expect on London-based Albany Down’s third album, The Outer Reach. The quartet have taken a no nonsense, heavy rock formula from all the classic rock sounds we’ve heard before and blended it just enough to create an album that, instead of being a rock cliché, ends up being a collection of energetic, highly enjoyable songs. Do You Want Me Now has noticeably clever rhythm breaks while the biggest surprise of the album is the funky Supersonic Girl. Driven by its brass section, the track keeps us on our toes with its timing changes, organ solo and then a rising chord progression that actually reminded me of the break on Iron Maiden’s Run To The Hills. Guitarist Paul Turley lets rip on the slide guitar on Mr Hangman, and we’re transported straight to the scene of a Western, as every quality blues-rock outfit should be able to do. It’s another high-octane track with an explosive chorus that’s a lot of fun. Lyrically, things are kept simple and that’s part of each song’s charm. Revolution, a song about standing up to government oppression opens with “I can feel you watching CCTV / Do I disappoint you when you look at me” and on The Drop, Muir sings, “I’m coming to find you / There’s nowhere to run / The countdown is coming / The damage is already done". No one wants a heavy, blues-driven rock album that has complex or pretentious lyrics. They get straight to the point, just as the songs often get straight to the loud, catchy choruses or rip into a guitar solo after little more than a verse. There isn’t really a weak track on this exhilarating album, which is a lot more than just a tribute to all its influences. It’s an album that’s full of energy, great guitar work and tight timing between drummer Donna Peters and Billy Dedman on bass. The slower, final track, Sing Me To Sleep, allows the listener to get their breath back and lets the band slip in a ballad, just to complete the whole rock spectrum. It’s as if Albany Down have a pot of classic rock soup that they stir up, dip a ladle into and see what comes out. And on The Outer Reach, what’s come out is pretty tasty