Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Review: The Young Liberals - It's The.../Dick Wolf

As promised I'm going to do a run down of The Young Liberals first two releases, It's The... & Dick Wolf. I'm not sure if these could be considered 'proper' releases as the are very lo-fi recordings, but the songs are solid so the point is moot. My details on the band are a little sketchy, the only member I can confirm is Ben Salter (of the Gin Club) and I definitely recognise the other members from different bands. I can tell you that they plan on recording an album for every month of 2008, a commendable effort indeed.

It's The... begins with 'Hayfever', and the songs starts like any good garage song should; with a blistering guitar solo. From there on in it's all catchy hooks, slamming drums and some very melodic vocals which I can't actually make outs. Next up is the brilliant ode to my favourite drummer, 'Oh! Ringo'. Short and too the point, a simple chorus is aided by some excellent couplets ("While John was high, and Paul retired/Well you learnt to play chess."). The Young Liberals keep the Nuggets-style rockers coming with 'Medieval Dress', with romance at a Renaissance Fair providing the perfect foil for Ben Salter's brilliant vocals. A thumping cover of the Small Faces' 'What You Gonna Do About It?' keeps things flowing along, however the next track, 'You Better Have My Money' feels a bit limp after the previous songs. The Young Liberals through a bit of psychedelic rock into the mix with 'Out Of Focus', before following it with a searing cover of MC5's 'American Ruse'. The last two songs, 'The Bucket's In The Sink' and 'Measure Once Cut Twice' are run of the mill garage rock, catchy yet ultimately forgettable.

Dick Wolf is a somewhat more memorable effort. The album kicks off with the explosive 'Hello Nitro!' which combines the garage rock of It's The... with shambolic vocals and a Hendrix-style guitar line buried beneath the distortion. While I couldn't pick up on the lyrical subject of 'Hello Nitro!', second track 'French Literature' is fairly self explanatory. You have to give kudos to a band who can incorporate Rimbaud and Balzac into their lyrics, however the track is a little lacking musically. The next track, 'The Roads Are Paved With Robbie Williams', has no such problems. Combining a bouncing riff and hilarious lyrics about unsold Robbie Williams CD's being used to pave roads in China, this track is the highlight of Dick Wolf. The title track, an ode to the creator of the Law & Order series, might also be funny but the vocals are rather distorted and all I could make out was "Dick Wolf's gonna wolf you down." I leave the judgement on that one up to you. '(He's A) Moshdog' is the only rock song I can recall being entirely dedicated to a dog, and it does it fairly well too. 'Joanna Says' is the runner-up for best song on Dick Wolf. Sounding something akin to what the Velvet Underground would have done if they'd hailed from the North-Western United States, 'Joanna Says' is easily the most diverse sounding song of the Young Liberals, and, given a proper recording, would probably be their best. 'Whippets' and '1 2 F U' continue with the garage rock theme, though the edge close to being filler. The Young Liberals then go on to cover the Velvet Underground's 'What Goes On' competently, but don't really depart from the original in a big way. The closing track, 'We're In A Band' is a satirical, foot-stomping country-rock number about being in a band. The song sounds something like the closing song for a non-existent TV show band like the Monkees, but don't consider that an insult as this track is the perfect end to the CD (and to live sets too).

Both albums are strong efforts given the means and time used to make them, but at the same time the listener will be left wanting more from the production. It's a little harsh to dismiss the records on those terms though, as the Young Liberals have quite a number of gems in the mix here. As I mentioned previously these guys (and girl) put on a great live show, so I suggest seeing them live first before getting the albums (chances are you won't find the CD's anywhere but at their gigs so you won't have much choice!).

1 comment:

Joanna said...

i rock!