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The Music are an indie-rock band from Kippax, Leeds who first came to providence in 2002 when their debut album (imaginatively titled 'The Music') caused a few ripples in the then pre-download singles and album charts. The album was well received featuring popular singles 'Take the long road and walk it', 'Getaway' and 'The Truth has no words' as well as fan favourite 'The People'. The Music's sound is a sort of cross over between dance music and Led Zeppelin, featuring more funk than your average indie band. An unusual sight on MTV with a singer with long curly hair, dancing like a loony fresh in his best addidas tracksuit. Robert Harvey, front man, of The Music is a more serious songwriter than his original persona shows as well as a phenomenal live act.
The follow up album 'Welcome to the North' was not received as well the debut record despite initial promise of single 'Freedom Fighters'. Addictions to drugs and alcohol influencing depression and splits within the band camp meant a four year hiatus was needed before the release of album number three 'Strength in Numbers'. With the focus back on the music, how does the album fare against the two previous? Here is my track by track guide: -
'Strength In Numbers' - The band are back with a bang in this lead single opener. A tentative machine sound of 15 seconds precedes the massive guitar riff that acts as the basis for the whole song. The track incorporates everything that made the Music well thought of in the first place, an almost message like song emphasising that they are back and doing what they do best. Robert Harvey is now shaven head meaning business with superb vocals. An early standout '''10/10'''
'The Spike' - Follow up single and equally impressive track as the albums self titled first single. The Spike kicks in with a thumping bass line with exquisite vocals from Harvey once more. The bass line holds the song throughout as well as delicate electric finger picking guitar in the verses until a riff-driven chorus. Harvey's vocals double up on the second verse giving more depth and layers to their music than ever has been recorded before. '''10/10'''
'Drugs' - Three songs in and third single. 'Drugs' is blatantly a sensitive song matter given the past four years. Beginning with simple drums and guitar before a rhythmic electric guitar playing at the bridge. "Drugs at the hands of a dealer, they're no cure" is the cry in the chorus. Another strong song '''9/10'''
'Idle' - A slower beat and atmosphere on this track which upon first listen doesn't grab you as much as the strong opening three songs. This is a grower and despite its dark nature it includes more evidence as the versatility of Harvey's vocals and musically as a band. A real grower, when i first reviewed I gave 7 but now.. '''9/10'''
'The Left Side' - Back to the soaring electric guitars on this track which features a fantastic guitar driven chorus of "im not gonna just sit here and let this go to waste, watching the clock tick on my life"; the passion probably coming from deep within when back in the studio after the extended break. Great album track '''9/10'''
'Fire' - A song kicking around for a while, immediate drum beat precedes a massive guitar riff and strong vocals. A song that much represents the old sound of the band. Again, acting as a reminder of what made them liked in the first place. Ironically, despite a return to the old form it does not necessary make it stand out from some of the strong new material. '''8/10'''
'Get Through It' - Again, a song that wouldn't look out of place on the previous two albums. "C'mon how do I get through it?" is the chorus; another example of the personal nature of Robert Harvey's song writing. I can imagine this being a live favourite due to its funk led bass line and strong guitar. '''8/10'''
'Vision' - One of my favourite off the whole album. A great example of how the band have grown in stature. It sounds like a band on form as this is track eight and yet to find a stinker on the album. Superb guitars that sound just perfect against Harvey's vocals, which with the excellent production come across less raw than on previous albums.
'The Last One' - Another great bass line, not as prominent as the spike but holding the song together nonetheless. "Why am I the last one to know" shows another personal side of the song writing. The electric guitars don't spoil the song by being overpowering, a softer side of the Music but arguably more effective '''9/10'''
'No Weapon Sharper Than Will' - A song that represents the old sound of the Music, demonstrating funk, thumping bass as well as the recognisable riffs. Again, it makes me think, is this as good as some of the new sounding vibes on this album. '''8/10'''
'Cold Blooded' - Track Eleven shows no letting up with the same characteristics as most songs on this album. Another triumph with the new sound, especially with Harvey's vocals on the track '''8/10'''
'Inconceivable odds' - Just when you thought you had the band sussed out this acoustic gem is tagged on at the end. If you weren't convinced by Harvey's unique yet imaginative song writing abilities you will be now. This song is delicate and a perfect end to the album though it does merge into an instrumental rock number at the end which again is musical perfection '''10/10'''
I have always been a fan of the band but admittedly I didn't know whether the first album was a flash in the pan after the difficult second album. This album has changed my mind completely, it has no weak tracks and has been produced excellently by the well renowned producer Flood. The Music certainly have more to aim for now with this demonstration of a range of songs. I am lucky to have tickets for their latest tour and cant wait to see how these songs pan out live.
The album flows really well and there is no point where I want to reach for the skip button. They kind of had a cult following in the beginning. This album deserves more success than I would imagine it will get. Robert Harvey definitely has a certain voice, The Music have that certain sound that you either like or you don't, there is little inbetween. I would recommend that anyone who checks out the first three tracks either on i-tunes, or youtube, and likes what they hear then this would not disappoint.
Play.com had this album priced at £5.99 when i firsat wrote this review on ciao but now seem to have it at £9.99,. Anything under £10 is an absolute snip of a price for what I think was one of the albums of 2008. The Music are back and hopefully to stay and make more albums as strong as Strength In Numbers.
This is an updated review of my original one on ciao as dtait07
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Strength In Numbers
2 The Spike
4 Idle - The Music, Flood, Paul Hartnoll, Max Dingel, Alex Mackenzie, Howie Weinberg, Robert Harvey, Adam Nutter
5 The Left Side
7 Get Through it
8 Vision - Flood, The Music, Paul Hartnoll, Max Dingel, Alex Mackenzie, Howie Weinberg, Robert Harvey, Adam Nutter, Stuart Coleman, Phil Jordan, Alex McKenzie
9 The Last One
10 No Weapon Sharper Than Will
11 Cold Blooded
12 Inconceivable Odds / No Danger - The Music, Flood, Paul Hartnoll, Max Dingel, Alex Mackenzie, Howie Weinberg, Robert Harvey, Adam Nutte