This is an album I was a little bit surprised to be asked to review. I say this mainly because I wrote such a stinking review for another website of the show I saw their main man Alan Fish play with this album's primary singer Jesse Terry as an opening act at the Bush Hall recently. I was so unkind that the headline act's management insisted it was taken down!
But in the short time the review was up Alan Fish the guitarist read it and thanked me for a spot on honest review and being happy to take the criticism to help him to get Jesse Terry to get better as damn he has a good voice and is a great guitarist.
So even after the other review was shelved Alan was brave enough (or enough of an Attention Seeker) to want another review and one that this time will stay online. Fingers crossed.
The Attention Seekers have been Alan Fish's main band for quite a while and this album is basically a collection of the singles they have put out in the last couple of years.
A Song For Tomorrow is a very early 1970's sounding middle of the road folk rock. It's a bit overblown in places, but its a heartfelt plea for a peaceful way forward and it feels we should be working for a better tomorrow while stealing the best sounds of yesteryear. It's very easy on the ears while getting these perfectly fair points across.
This is the first point where I have kind of a problem as I have thankfully never heard Paul McCartney's original of Jenny Wren as I stopped wanting to hear what he was putting out after McCartney II. This is probably an advantage as I almost always prefer to hear his songs covered by someone doing them justice rather listening to the original. So for me this is just a really nice bucolic folk rock song beautifully played. It has a very drive time relaxing music feel to it.
They also have a go at The Water Is Wide: a song that is one of those songs that once you've heard Mary Hopkins sing it you never want to hear another version. But as there are thousands of other versions why not add another one to the mix, I guess. Anyway this is a nice, slow gentle version with Jesse Terry staying true to the melancholy nature of the song.
Long Way Home is a great driving laid back bit of blues rock that features vocalist Paul Liddell. The music really swings a lot with vocals that have a good Celtic rock feel to them; a bit like the Saw Doctors hurtling down the N17.
Oh good grief it's horrific old chestnut time and a solo acoustic folk and (thankfully instrumental) version of When I'm 64. Sorry that was one of the first Beatles tunes I hated in the early 70's and it doesn't improve with age. That said this is pleasant enough if you can still stomach that song.
They also do a nice gentle version of I Don't Like Mondays, probably Bob Gedolf's last great song and sadly this song is ever more poignant and it's good to hear Jesse Terry bringing out the horror of being in the midst of yet another school shooting . Oh and I love the restraint of Stu Haikney on drums and the way the cymbals are placed in the mix towards the end of the song.
Out Of Me sounds like a west coast ballad but I know this is a North East coast-centred band as they are from Newcastle and record at the Cluny Studios. Yes, Jesse is the outsider in this band being American.
So Like Candy is a sickly sweet and cloying love song gone wrong that I just kind of find gets better as the song goes on. The opening is like sticking your head in the candy floss machine. Wedding Bells is just a beautifully played strum that would sound perfect played in a church before someone's nuptials.
Then the album takes a major left turn and we get the rock song On The 101 when they suddenly sound like they might have heard Reckless Loves On The Radio and thought they'd have a go too as it still seems to work. And yeah of course it works, sounding like classic John Cougar Mellencamp or something on those lines super catchy and totally radio friendly so to speak as they keep on about driving on the 101 with the radio on.
The album closes with the plangent sounds of Turn On The Radio which was the first song Alan Fish and Jesse Terry wrote together and it's not at all bad for that. It has that Celtic rock sound coming through again, which again makes me think of some of The Saw Doctors. It probably needs a good few listens to get everything going on and also sounds like it will work best with a band live.
I have to say this album certainly isn't bad in any way whatsoever but is the sort of collection that will work far better as part of a large I-pod or similar playlist with the odd song coming on to make me (or any other listener) try to figure out who it is each time. I think it will grow on many listeners that way.
Find out more at The Attention Seekers online