Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Flynndie Reviews: #41 - Top 10 Albums of 2013

Written 4th December 2013:

So as another year draws to a close, I’ve decided to compile my personal favourite Indie and Alternative albums from the past 12 months and list my selections here, highlighting the albums I found myself listening to the most over the course of the year.  For me 2013 has generally been a steady year for fans of Indie music, which in particular has seen many ‘big hitters’ return with either their 3rd, 4th or 5th album furthering their sounds but also in a few cases there have been some great new bands arrive on the scene with some debut albums to look out for in case you may have missed them earlier this year.

So put on your dancing shoes and pack your air guitars as we head out on tour and check out 10 of the top albums from 2013!

#10. Parlour Flames – Parlour Flames (Released 20th May - Reviewed in Flynndie Reviews #38 – 7/10)

May saw the release of Parlour Flames debut album of the same name, featuring former-Oasis guitarist Bonehead teaming up with singer, song-writer, poet, Vinny Peculiar.  As I previously said when I reviewed this record, those expecting guitar-rock in the style of Oasis because of the Bonehead-connection would be way off the mark.  What we had here, was a jolly, charming record with light-hearted, chilled melodies laced with witty, tongue-in-cheek lyrics from Vinny (‘Sunday Afternoon’, ‘Pop Music, Football and Girls’) to more guitar-scuzzy tracks (‘Get in the Van’) brilliantly swaggering Indie-pop (‘Manchester Rain’) and a couple of psychedelic numbers (‘Jump the Brook Ruth’, ‘Broken Hearted Existentialist’) in all making this a nice, chilled and witty debut record from the Manchester duo.

Recommended Tracks: ‘Manchester Rain’, ‘Get in the Van’, ‘Jump the Brook Ruth’
Personal Favourite Track: ‘Pop Music, Football and Girls’ -  

#9. Editors – The Weight of Your Love (Released 1st July – Reviewed in Flynndie Reviews #39 – 7/10)

2013 saw Editors return with their much-anticipated 4th studio album ‘The Weight of Your Love’.  Returning with excellent comeback single ‘A Ton of Love’, this track was pure guitar-pop and hinted at the band’s return to a large guitar-based sound as opposed to the more electronic sound of their 3rd record ‘In This Light and On This Evening’.  And while the new album did feature some more traditional Editors guitar-based tracks (‘The Weight’, ‘Formaldehyde’) the album featured much more thoughtful, deeper ballads by the band backed with string sections (‘Honesty’, ‘What is this thing called love?’) to piano-driven tracks (‘Two Hearted Spider’) with passionate and high-pitched vocals from lead-singer Tom Smith being a feature throughout the record.  This is probably the most soft, caring and tender album by Editors to-date.

Recommended Tracks: ‘The Weight’, ‘Honesty’, ‘Formaldehyde’
Personal Favourite Track: ‘A Ton of Love’ -  

#8. Nick Mulvey – Fever to the Form EP (Released 17th June)

Over the summer I managed to catch an X-FM Xposure night at the Camden Barfly.  3rd act on the bill that night was a guy called Nick Mulvey and what followed over the next 20-25 minutes was one of the most amazing acoustics sets I've seen!  With well-written and beautifully structured acoustic melodies influenced by Latin finger-picking and African rhythms, Nick has quite a unique, chilled, flowing sound that I’ve not heard too often and this EP really captures his style and sound well.  In particular if you like Ben Howard, I would certainly recommend to check out some of Nick’s material and really think this guy could become quite a success over the next 12 months; I can’t recommend the opportunity to try and catch him live enough though!

Recommended Tracks: ‘Juramidam’ 
Personal Favourite Track: ‘Fever to the Form’ -

#7. Miles Kane – Don’t Forget Who You Are (Released 31st May)

The end of May saw Miles Kane release his 2nd-solo album ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’.  Featuring a great collection of tight Indie-rock tracks, with big sing-along choruses (‘Taking Over’, Better Than That’, ‘Give Up’), to some retro Indie-pop (‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’) to dreamy, acoustic tracks (‘Fire in my Heart’)  this is another fine effort from the young Scouse Mod.  A more full-on and rocky album than Miles debut effort ‘Colour of the Trap’, for me this record builds a lot on his song-writing style and in my opinion tops his fine debut album as well, with a catchy, up-beat Indie record.  If you can I’d recommend picking up the special edition version of the album as it features 3 excellent bonus tracks ‘Start of Something Big’, ‘Caught in the Act’ and ‘First of my Kind’ which help build on an already fine record.

Recommended Songs: ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’, ‘Better Than That’, ‘Give Up’
Personal Favourite Track: ‘Taking Over’ -

#6. Red Kite – Songs for Crow (Released 5th November)

A great new band I came across in 2013 was London-based 6-piece Red Kite, fronted by former-Cooper Temple Clause guitarist Dan Fisher and also being notable for featuring two-drummers in the band.  ‘Songs for Crow’ was originally released back in May for those that pre-ordered the album via Pledge Music while November saw a general release for the album, which was a fine blend of Alt-Rock.  Featuring some great alternative guitar-pop with fantastic guitar-hooks (‘The Gathering Storm’, ‘Montreal’) to dark, brooding, Indie-rock (‘Red Blooded Males’) to the more stripped-down, poignant acoustic numbers (‘Songs for Crow’, ‘No Painter of Note’) this a dark, thoughtful record with a lot of heart and care poured into it, particularly in the lyrics, creating a unique Alt-Rock sound for the band Red Kite and a band I’m looking forward to hearing more from in the future.

Recommended Tracks: ‘The Gathering Storm’, ‘Poltergeist’, ‘Red Blooded Males’
Personal Favourite Track: ‘Montreal’ -  

#5. Johnny Marr – The Messenger (Released 22nd February)

2013 was also the year that former-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr surprised many by releasing his debut solo-album ‘The Messenger’ after previously playing guitar full-time with many other bands including The Cribs and Modest Mouse.  And in my opinion the long wait for a solo album from Mr Marr was well worth it as ‘The Messenger’ was a fine guitar record.  With a fine blend of cool, swaggering Indie (‘The Right Thing Right’, ‘Upstarts’) catchy, upbeat and urgent tracks (‘I Want the Heartbeat, ‘Generate! Generate!)’, to the baggy album title-track (‘The Messenger’) and the excellent, jangly and very Smiths-esque (‘New Town Velocity’) overall made this a very cool, understated and enjoyable record from the Manchester guitar legend.

Recommended Songs: ‘Upstarts’, ‘The Messenger’, ‘Generate! Generate!’
Personal Favourite Track: ‘New Town Velocity’ - 

#4. Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action (Released 26th August)

Late summer saw the return of Scottish art-popsters Franz Ferdinand with their 4th album ‘Right Thoughts’.  Returning with the jazzy, upbeat and incredibly catchy comeback single ‘Love Illumination’, it was an early indication that Franz were set to release an upbeat, pop record and in my opinion this album was a fine return to form for them.  Packed with some funky and danceable tracks (‘Love Illumination’, ‘Stand on the Horizon’), to some pure Indie-pop (‘Right Action’, ’Fresh Strawberries’), some more familiar, fast and urgent Franz Ferdinand (‘Bullet’), while recent “spooky” single ‘Evil Eye’ was the perfect sound-track for Halloween parties everywhere, ‘Right Thoughts’ was one of 2013’s most pleasant surprises for me.

Recommended Tracks: ‘Right Action’, ‘Love Illumination’, ‘Evil Eye’
Personal Favourite Track: ‘Stand on the Horizon’ -

#3. The Strokes – Comedown Machine (Released 25th March - Reviewed in Flynndie Reviews #36 – 7/10)

March saw the return of one of New York’s finest, The Strokes, with their 5th studio album ‘Comedown Machine’.  The last couple of Strokes albums had been a bit more experimental with their sound and so was the case with ‘Comedown Machine’.  Packing in a range of different styles from opening track ‘Tap Out’ flirting with retro guitar-sounds, to dabbling with 70’s disco (‘Welcome to Japan’), to guitars sounding like synths backed with falsetto vocals (‘One Way Trigger’), garage-rock (‘50/50’) to more familiar sounding Indie-pop Strokes tracks (‘All the Time’, ‘Partners in Crime’), and finally closing with ‘Call It Fate, Call It Karma’, probably the most bizarre Strokes track to-date yet strangely compelling at the same time; overall this lead to a great sounding and interesting record in my opinion which has certainly been a grower for me more with each listen over the past 12 months.

Recommended Tracks: ‘All the Time’, ‘One Way Trigger’, ‘Welcome to Japan’
Personal Favourite Track: ‘Partners in Crime’ -  

#2. Arctic Monkeys – AM (Released 9th September – Reviewed in Flynndie Reviews #40 – 8/10)

Possibly the most anticipated album of 2013 was Arctic Monkey’s 5th album ‘AM’ and in fairness the Arctic’s delivered another solid record to build on their ever-expanding hits-list.  We had already had an early preview of ‘AM’ with the excellent riff-heavy single ‘R U Mine’ and this was followed by ‘Do I Wanna Know’ driven by another ballsy guitar-riff at the heart of it.  ‘AM’ also featured some 70’s glam-rock (‘I Want It All’), stripped-down, dreamy ballads (‘No 1 Party Anthem’, ‘Mad Sounds’) to the semi-acoustic (‘Fireside’) and even a couple of hip-hop and prog-rock influenced tracks (‘Arabella’, ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’).  Finishing the year with an Arena tour, 2013 was yet another successful year for the boys from the Steel City.

Recommended Tracks: ‘Do I Wanna Know?’, ‘Arabella’, ‘Fireside, ‘Snap Out of It’

Personal Favourite Track: ‘R U Mine’ -

Arctic Monkeys played a triumphant set at Earls Court back in October
#1. Primal Scream – More Light (Released 13th May)

So maybe a little bit of a surprise at the #1 spot but for me ‘More Light’ by Primal Scream has to be my most listened to record of the year.  I was lucky enough to catch the band at this year’s iTunes Festival and before the gig I decided to check out their latest record and I’m sure glad I did.  Featuring a great collection, of 13 distinct and differing tracks, there is a real variety of sounds on this album in particular but crucially what we have here are some brilliantly-written tracks throughout.  From psychedelic and trippy (‘River of Pain’, ‘Hello Johnny’), to some deliciously dirty and vicious guitar-rock (‘Hit Void’, ‘Sideman’) to the understated and beautifully-calm (‘Tenement Kid’) and also thrown in are some big sounding, distinctly Primal Scream-style singles (‘2013’, ‘Invisible City’, It’s Alright, It’s Ok’) and overall this all adds up to a great, alternative-rock album and for me this is Primal Scream’s best record since 2000’s classic ‘XTRMNTR’ and well worth checking out.

Recommended Songs: ‘Hit Void’, ‘Tenement Kid’, ‘Sideman’, ‘It’s Alright, It’s OK’
Personal Favourite Track: ‘Invisible City’ -  

Bobbie Gillespie 'rocks' a pink-suit as Primal Scream played the iTunes Festival at The Roundhouse in September 

So that covers my favourite albums of 2013, many thanks for taking the time to read and if you have any recommendations of records for me to check out as well, feel free to leave suggestions in the comments section below or send them across on Twitter.

Here’s to more Alternative, Indie and Rock music in 2014!


Thursday, 5 September 2013

Flynndie Reviews: #40 Arctic Monkeys - AM

Written 5th September 2013:

Arctic Monkeys - AM

The Band: Alex Turner (lead vocals\guitar), Jamie Cook (lead guitar), Nick O’Malley (bass), Matt Helders (drums)

Next Monday sees the return of Arctic Monkeys with their much-anticipated 5th studio album ‘AM’, however the band have decided to stream the album early this week with iTunes (which you can find here giving fans a chance to hear an early preview of the new record.   Arriving back on the scene in 2005 with a self-titled EP, it wasn’t long before the Arctic’s reached critical acclaim with their excellent and successful debut album ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That is What I’m Not’ featuring fast-paced guitar anthems laced with Alex Turner’s intelligent, witty lyrics that many found they could relate to, before the band returned in 2007 with 2nd album ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ quickly establishing them as one of the hottest bands in the country.  2009’s ‘Humbug’ was a bit more of a trippy, darker affair, while the band’s 4th album ‘Suck It and See’ (previously reviewed here) saw a fine blend of Indie rock and somewhat more mellow pop tunes which again seemed to go down well with fans.  So how does the band’s latest album ‘AM’ hold up then? 


1.     Do I Wanna Know?
2.     R U Mine?
3.     One for the Road
4.     Arabella
5.     I Want It All
6.     No. 1 Party Anthem
7.     Mad Sounds
8.     Fireside
9.     Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?
10.  Snap Out Of It
11.  Knee Socks
12.  I Wanna Be Yours

Opening with come-back single ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ we’re instantly in familiar Arctic Monkey’s territory here, with a slow-tempo yet ballsy, catchy guitar riff being the main sticking point to the track.  It’s a very instant and catchy track and saw a fine return for the band working as an excellent come-back single.  ‘R U Mine’ was previously a stand-alone single but again proving popular with fans has seen its inclusion on the new record as well.  More up-tempo than ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ the track has a scuzzy feel to it with guitar’s from Alex and Jamie battling along and thunderous drumming from Matt with the track’s featured lyric at its chorus “but what I really wanna know…is R U Mine?”  ‘One for the Road’ opens with the track-title repeated twice and features a more downbeat, spooky guitar rhythm to it, much more subtle in its approach, with a low-fi guitar riff picking away throughout.  It has quite a feel as the type of style of track the band used more on their third album ‘Humbug’ with a haunting feel to it.

‘Arabella’ is at first another soft and subtle track initially driven by percussion before a more rocky bridge “My days end best when the sunset gets behind itself/That little lady sitting on the passenger side” and has a prog-rock guitar riff midway through, while fifth track ‘I Want It All’ is pure glam-rock!  Featuring a guitar riff lifted directly from the 70’s that T-Rex themselves would be proud of at its heart; it’s a fun, foot-stomping romp of a track that fits nicely midway through the album and all the better for it.  On the contrast, despite the track-title ‘No. 1 Party Anthem’ is surprisingly a soft guitar/piano ballad making me think the track-title itself is somewhat tongue-in-cheek and part of the twisted humour the band have been known for in the past.  ‘Mad Sounds’ meanwhile is the most stripped down track on the record so far, whimsical and dreamy it captures the vibes of sailing down a river carefree on a sunny afternoon.  It’s very similar in style, to the mellower, stripped-down tracks found on the second half of ‘Suck It and See’.  Next we have ‘Fireside’ and this is an excellent semi-acoustic track, with a smoothly-flowing melody painted with poignant lyrics depicting thoughts on a relationship “I can’t explain but I wanna try/There’s this image of you/and it goes dancing by/In the morning and the night time”.  It’s a lovely track and one of the highlights of the album for me.

Recent single ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’, as the track-title suggests is a bit more of a psychedelic, trippy affair from the Monkeys.  It’s a much darker track with the track’s protagonist clearly pining for somebody else “Now it’s three in the morning and I’m trying to change your mind/Left you multiple missed calls and to my message you reply/Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”, it’s another slow, subtle but effective track.  ‘Snap Out of It’ lifts the mood more, with a more upbeat swing melody, it’s a cool, calm, understated track and works well here.  Penultimate track ‘Knee Socks’ is another slower, darker number also graduating from the school of third album ‘Humbug’ while album closer ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ sees the band putting music to the poem written by punk-poet John Cooper Clarke.  Another slower ballad type of track it has subtle hints of ‘505’ from ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ in its style of music and is a really effective album closer making nice use of the lyrics used in Clarke’s poetry.   

So in summary then I feel this record picks up nicely from ‘Suck It and See’ with a good blend and mixture from typical Arctic Monkey Indie rock tracks, particularly in the style found on ‘Humbug’ but also with some more serene and chilled out tracks midway through the album.  For me it’s the more rocky tracks such as ‘Do I Wanna Know?’, ‘R U Mine?’, ‘I Want It All’ and in particular ‘Fireside’ that are the highlights on the record for me but in my opinion they still just don’t quite match some of the heights of the first two Arctic’s records in particular which will always be a tough act for the band to top!  None-the-less there are still great tracks here all the same further cementing Arctic Monkey’s as one of the great bands of the past decade for sure and Alex Turner is certainly becoming a song-writer of a generation in my opinion.  Therefore I’m going to award this one a solid 8 Mad Sounds out of 10 as it’s another well written record by the band with a good range of tracks and seems to be a grower more with each listen.

One for the Road

Track 1 ‘Do I Wanna Know’

Track 9 ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’  

Band website:     

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Flynndie Reviews: #39 Editors - The Weight of your Love

Written 4th July 2013:

Editors – The Weight of Your Love

The Band: Thom Smith (lead vocals\guitar), Justin Lockey (lead guitar), Elliott Williams (guitar), Russell Leetch (bass), Edward Lay (drums)

So today’s review sees the long-awaited return of Editors (@editorsofficial if you wish to follow them on Twitter) with this their much-anticipated 4th album ‘The Weight of Your Love’.  The band arrived on the scene with their excellent brooding, yet fast-flowing guitar-based debut album ‘The Back Room’ back in 2005, with strong singles ‘Bullets’, ‘Munich’, ‘Blood’ and ‘All Sparks’ quickly helping the band gain national airplay, recognition and an army of fans.  This was followed up by 2007’s effort ‘An End has a Start’ another strong follow-up for the band with more heavy-hitting singles further cementing the band’s reputation for no-nonsense, dark downbeat yet catchy guitar-rock.  2009’s ‘In This Light and On This Evening’ saw the band further themselves with a more synth-driven direction ambitiously blending their already familiar guitar sound which was met by a mixed-response but general consensus was another successful album for the band especially with standout single ‘Papillion’, which leads us on nicely to this week’s release. 

The Weight of Your Love

1.     The Weight
2.     Sugar
3.     A Ton of Love
4.     What is this thing called Love
5.     Honesty
6.     Nothing
7.     Formaldehyde
8.     Hyena
9.     Two Hearted Spider
10.  The Phone Book
11.  Bird of Prey

Launching with swirling guitars and piano notes before a marching percussion ‘The Weight’ gets the album under way featuring Tom’s trademark isolated vocals “For a moment/I felt the weight of your love/It was lightening/It was lightening”; it’s a moody, atmospheric, deliberate track with its continued percussion being layered with sharp, angular guitar riffs and piano notes throughout and sets the overall tone for the record early on.  ‘Sugar’ is again initially driven by distinct percussion with a tingling guitar riff at the heart of the track; it’s another very atmospheric track with a bittersweet vibe about it.  ‘A Ton of Love’ was the first we had previously heard from this record as it was the band’s comeback single.  It’s a distinctly big Editors guitar anthem fast-paced and up-beat with Tom belting out the repeated “De-sire” midway through the track with great passion and urgency and sounding great.

‘What is this thing called Love’ as the track title suggests is a soft-ballad, as Tom’s vocals, backed with gentle piano notes and later in the track violins, are pitched much higher on this track than previously heard so far on the album.  It’s a soft, sweet track and clearly emotional “What is this thing called love that you speak?/We’re out of it/We’re out of it”.  Fifth track ‘Honesty’ continues the gentle slow pace of the album at this point, with a steady rhythm of guitar and percussion and gentle touches of soothing synths adding layers to it while featuring another big chorus “Does the honesty deceive?/Trying to find a way to leave this party/Take it out on me/Cause all the honesty/Shut this place down”.  ‘Nothing’ is another ballad, this time much more minimal simply featuring Tom’s vocals with backing synths and string sections it’s another deeply emotional track and continues to build as the track progresses.

‘Formaldehyde’ picks up the pace again midway through the record, using the toxic gas chemical as an analogy to a relationship, backed with catchy tingling guitar riffs and a one-two chorus between Tom’s lead and backing vocals “Formaldehyde/Never let you go/Formaldehyde/’til the end of time”.  Meanwhile ‘Hyena’ features a nice opening guitar riff at its heart progressing the track along nicely, very much capturing the unmistakably familiar sound that Editors are well known for and overall it’s quite an instant type of track.  ‘Two Hearted Spider’ slows the pace of the record once more, nudged along with a gentle bass-line and guitar riff with real focus on Tom’s vocals “Every move you make/Breaks me/Breaks me/Every smile you fake/Breaks Me/Breaks Me”, it’s another deep, thought-provoking track, a common theme found throughout this record.

Featuring a driving acoustic rhythm, penultimate track ‘The Phone Book’ again shows a much more stripped-down side of Editors with some focus on slide-guitar and has a bit of a Western feeling at the heart of it with the main rhythm of the track, while closing track ‘Bird of Prey’ is a bit more up-tempo again being driven by percussion throughout and another picked guitar riff and featuring backing synths and violins; it’s another soft, gentle track with a focus on the atmosphere it creates rather than being a hard-hitting guitar anthem.

So overall this has been an interesting record to review from Editors.  This album has a steady blend of more familiar, fast-paced guitar tracks that we have come to expect from the band in the past particularly on the tracks ‘A Ton of Love’ and ‘Hyena’ but with this record there seems to be much more of a focus on the soft, emotional thought-provoking tracks the band have also sometimes hinted on with previous records; see ‘What is this thing called Love’, ‘Honesty’ and ‘Two Hearted Spider’ for examples of this.  Therefore, when it comes to listening to ‘The Weight of Your Love’ I think fans of Editors who are already quite familiar with their darker, deep sound may take to this album quite quickly, while to the more casual listener may find it may take a few more listens to fully appreciate it as it’s not as instant as earlier albums ‘The Back Room’ or ‘An End has a Start’.  So therefore I’m going to give this one 7 Two Hearted Spiders out of 10, as overall this record is somewhat of a mixed bag and for me personally it doesn’t quite reach the highs of ‘The Back Room’ or ‘An End has a Start’ but if you do prefer the emotional, softer-side of Editors then you may find quite a lot to like with this record.   


Track 1 ‘The Weight’

Track 3 ‘A Ton of Love’

Band website:    

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Flynndie Reviews: #38 Parlour Flames - Parlour Flames

Written 21st May 2013:

Parlour Flames – Parlour Flames

The Band: Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs (guitars, keyboards, organs, e-bow, backing vocals), Alan ‘Vinny Peculiar’ Wilkes (lead & backing vocals, guitars, piano), Ollie Collins (bass), Che Beresford (drums)

So today’s review sees the release of the eponymous debut album from the Manchester-based 2-piece Parlour Flames (@ParlourFlames if you wish to follow the band on Twitter).   Formed primarily of Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs (Yes him who used to play guitar in Oasis!) and singer, song-writer, poet Alan Wilkes, who performs under the alias Vinny Peculiar, the band this week release their 10-track debut on Cherry Red records.  So let’s cut to the chase and find out what the band and record are all about. 

Parlour Flames

1.     Manchester Rain
2.     Sunday Afternoon
3.     Get in the Van
4.     Never Heard of You
5.     I’m in a Band
6.     Lonely Girls & Horses
7.     Jump the Brook Ruth
8.     Pop Music, Football & Girls
9.     Broken Hearted Existentialist
10.  Too Soon the Darkness

‘Manchester Rain’ opens the record and sets the album’s tone well with a distinctly psychedelic guitar solo, which runs through the heart of the track before we first hear Vinny’s gentle, softly-sung vocals on the album, with poetic-style lyrics which are a main feature throughout the record, the chorus featuring the line “All the fields are brown/And the buildings are grey/In the North of England/On a winters days”.  The track coasts along nicely and features spoken-word vocals from Bonehead towards the second half it.  ‘Sunday Afternoon’ follows and is a gentle, charming laid-back song for the listener, with acoustic guitars cleverly interspersed with soothing brass sections.  The track is quite subtle overall, with a steady blend of instruments throughout including a nice piece on the flute, to add to the calm, carefree nature of the track that Vinny’s tongue-in-cheek lyrics depict.  

Third track ‘Get in the Van’ initially sees a percussion-driven track backed with swirling acoustic and electric guitars.  This is again quite another psychedelic track with a subtle baggy Manchester feel to it, before Vinny’s repeated, trippy lines of “Get in the Van/Get in the Van” midway through it.  ‘Never Heard of You’ is a slow, downbeat piano ballad the main focus of which are the lyrics depicting the song’s individual’s tale of reflecting on former glories of once being in a successful band “Hey did I tell you I was on Top of the Pops/I met Ruby Flipper and Sam Fox” being just one of a few poignant, cheeky lines featured in a slow yet captivating track, melodically closing with backing e-bow.  ‘I’m in a Band’ continues the piano lead tracks on the album at this point and is almost a ‘part-two’ to the previous track, opening initially with slow individual piano notes played between Vinny’s lyrics, before the track gathers a little more momentum, with a gentle acoustic folk melody helping to build up the track accompanied with gentle electric guitar solos and flute, it’s a very serene track.

‘Lonely Girls & Horses’ is a bit more of an uplifting track and much like earlier track ‘Sunday Afternoon’ shares a cheeky jolly melody again backed with brass trumpets which really adds depth to it, while playfully closing with tinkering piano notes.  ‘Jump the Brook Ruth’ has much more of a scuzzy guitar edge to it.  It’s another track on the record with quite a baggy feel about it, with Vinny occasionally backing with the track’s title “Jump the Brook Ruth” before the repeated psychedelic line midway through the song “What an evil little boy”. Also listen out very carefully for rare vocals from Bonehead on this track!  Next up we have ‘Pop Music, Football and Girls’, which was actually the first track I heard by the band.  What we have here is quite literally a delightful Indie-pop track, again with gentle flowing guitars, understated piano notes and whimsical lines “Pop music, football and girls/Nothing else matters in this world/Decent tunes and the beautiful game/A night on the town with Jenny and Jane”.  It’s another track on the record that captures this cheeky yet charming side of what the band are about.

Penultimate track ‘Broken Hearted Existentialist’ (try saying that after a few beers!), opens with a low-key, gentle electric guitar riff.  The track has a real spaced-out, distant vibe to it and is arguably the most trippy track on the record with even the surreal line “Existentialist, what does that mean?” subtly thrown in there; this track reminds me very much of the sound of The Beatles on Revolver.  The album closes with ‘Too Soon the Darkness’ another calm, tranquil, understated track, lyrically poignant and quite bleak, it appears a very personal track and comes across as such and is somewhat of a ballad to close the album with.

So in closing, this is a very nice debut album from Parlour Flames.  If you are expecting a rocky, early-Oasis sounding album because of the connection with Bonehead, you will be way off the mark!  What we have here are a collection, of gentle, understated melodies with some nice Indie-pop tracks throughout capturing a gentlemanly Englishness to the record as a whole, especially with the cheeky tongue-in-cheek lyrics featured throughout.  This is clearly an album with a lot of thought and care poured into it and as such takes a few listens to fully appreciate.  I’m going to award this one 7 Sunday Afternoon’s out of 10, for what is essentially an easy-listening, chilled-out record from the Manchester duo.

Pop Music, Football and Reviews

Track 1 ‘Manchester Rain’   

Track 8 ‘Pop Music, Football and Girls’

Band website: