As soon as I heard opening track ‘Expensive Imitation’ I was completely hooked on this album and the band’s sound. I’d heard a few Canterbury songs before and though they were good, nothing had really grabbed my attention like this song with its atmospheric building start to its pounding drums, shouted vocals and chugging guitars producing hooks a plenty. This one has anthem status written all over it with a chanting gang style chorus and the epic edge coming from build ups and sweeping strings sounds. This is a hell of a way to open an album.
This LP manages to strike a good balance between heavier, rock based songs and slower, melodic tracks. The heavier component of the album comprises of songs like ‘Keep It Moving’ with low chugging bass, a steady drum beat and chorus full of fast guitars and a great rhythm. Then there’s ‘Elephant’ with a head nodding rhythm and sing along chorus mixed with a nostalgic tinge that runs throughout and a wonderful classic riff taking us from second chorus to the final run of this short song. While ‘Run From The Gun’ has an tick-tock sounding drum and prominent bass line backing up the high pitched ‘oh’s’ that complement the quieter vocals, when the catchy ‘will get stuck in your head for days’ chorus kicks in the voice is more harmonious and leads the swirling guitars and steady rhythm.
On the flip side, ‘All My Life’ is slow, melodic and features a smooth rhythm. The rock is stripped back leaving an acoustic ballad swaying in tone and the harmonious vocals are backed up by a brilliant old school guitar solo. Sounding slightly reminiscent of Joy Division when it opens, ‘Think It Over’ is a mix of gentle melodic guitars, an upbeat chorus and calm vocals making it accessible for any listener all while retaining its rock edge. Whereas ‘By The Trail’ is a soft piano led ballad, the vocals are muted, the acoustic guitar is subdued and the piano meanders through the whole song taking you on a journey. The choruses are just as tranquil and the whole thing is brought to an end with grandness with long and sweeping violin sounds.
‘Satellite’ is probably my favourite track on the album, kicking straight in with shouted vocals, chugging guitars, fast and almost threatening in tone. The unhappy ‘you’re all alone in the world tonight’ and hateful ‘you’re burning every bridge you made’ lyrics are themes that cross over into the music. The rock edge is thrown against a huge, almost operatic backing vocal taking the already big sound to the next level. By comparison, the track that follows ‘Hold Your Own’ is a little disappointing; it’s one of the weakest on the album. The music itself creates quite an interesting round of piano, echoey vocals and a constant drum beat but the track never really gets anywhere.
‘Dark Days’ ends on ‘Going Nowhere’, exploding beats bring us in hinting at a dance infliction. It’s a quiet song that retains a great musicality as the vocals take centre stage against the beat and an organ like repeated note. Halfway through graduating keys and beautiful yet gentle violin take over. It’s a wonderful way to end proceedings with a track completely different to the others found here.
There are a couple of negative points to this but in the grand scheme of things it can be easily ignored especially as it doesn’t mar the overall sound of this very good listen.
Check out the video for ‘Think It Over’ from the album below: