Albany ‘Lead The Way’ EP Review

Founded in Coventry back in 2006, Albany have been on the British music scene for a little while now. Although they have encountered hurdles and indifference in the past, they are back and more hungry than ever. Based in Lincoln nowadays, Albany are a loud, out and out indie rock band, writing original songs that mean something to people once again… That’s in their own words. So my job here is to see whether they live up to that tagline or not. Shall we see how they got on?

Well I had an awful lot of fun listening to this EP. Considering I just got done listening to that woeful Bon Jovi record released last week,  it’s fair to say that this yinged that yang. The most interesting, reoccurring aspect for me listening to this album,  is how they incorporate so many different influences into one sound. I had so much fun identifying sequences that sounded a little like Oasis or a little like Pulp; it was really exciting throughout.

Production wise the whole EP is incredibly strong for an independent group. So often I hear records sent to me that have been rushed and thrown together by a group that are just trying to make content for contents sake. The guitar in particular has a sweet distorted tone throughout which really set off the guitar fuzziness inside me. When it came to solo’s, that wah effect that is used every now and then sounded excellent; really professional. The drums sounded pretty well mixed too with each part sounding focused and vibrant. There were a couple times where a kick or a snare was hit off of the metronome by a couple ms’s, but that would only be noticeable if you are looking for flaws. The bass sounded wholesome and hearty which allowed the low end of the mix to be covered and pronounced. The vocals were very well mixed too, never cutting through the textures created too much. Each word had great diction and as far as I heard, there is no sibilance which is hard to do as an unsigned act.

Musicality wise, each song is very strong. I loved the riffs used throughout, I loved the vocal melodies used from track to track and I thought there were moments of real professionalism. Like I mentioned earlier, the guitar solo’s in particular sounded sweet and most importantly passionate; there is no technical wankery, rather just full blown emotion. My favourite track had to be ‘Lesson #1’ as it screamed ‘The Fratellis’ to me. It brought me some personal nostalgia and I thought it was a great track. It is cohesive, it is concentrated and it is confident; the group knows their sound well. That’s the best way for me to describe the band really; intelligent. They know their strengths and weaknesses well, which allows them to formulate tracks that never lose momentum; what I mean is that the track listing never felt filler, each song is well weighted. I also really enjoyed the track ‘Some Days’ because it sounded like the glory days of Oasis. Instrumentally the whole track felt like a Noel Gallagher tune, but the way Albany executed it meant that it felt personal to them; it felt stylistic which is great.

Lyrically each track is again, intelligent. They never write about corny subjects or phrase anything in a cheesy manner, instead each song sounds somewhat endearing. Why do I say this? Well each subject is personal to the band and it’s described in a way which is personal to the band. As a listener that makes me feel a connection and allows me to differentiate these guys from others; it gives the group character which again is rare for an independent act.

Overall then, I really had a great time listening to this EP. Thus far this month, independent music has swamped the signed stuff in quality. Makes you think as a reviewer what our mainstream really cares about anymore. 20 years ago this group would be in the top flight, cruising through with great music, but unfortunately bands are having to sell out to get their money. However, when a truly great band rolls around, people take notice anyway. Do I get that vibe with Albany? I sure as hell do.

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