Album review by KevW
It's interesting that 'These Are The Good Old Days' was chosen as the title of this debut album by Cleethorpes band The Finest Hour. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, they've quoted a line from The Libertines' song 'The Good Old Days', and back in the days when Pete and Carl's mob were a going concern, The Finest Hour would most likely have attracted more attention than they will now. It's an album out of time, an album that shuns modern guitar music for those good old days not too long ago when The Libertines and then The Arctic Monkeys amongst others were flogging enough records to become top 40 regulars and spawn packs of imitators and gangs of devoted fans. For lovers of traditional British indie-rock those were indeed the good old days, but those days are gone and subsequently many people wouldn't give The Finest Hour a second glance. As they sing on 'Feel The Same', "time changes everything".
Without a musical crystal ball to peer into, it's difficult to predict if and when bands such as this will be back in vogue, but the point isn't fashion and following scenes, it's about whether the music is any good. On this first outing for the quartet, for the most part the music is very good. Nothing totally blows the mind, nothing pushes the limits of recording, but a song like 'See For Miles' has bundles of appeal and it's a shame that it will likely never get the exposure it deserves. Huge bonus points go to the epic last track 'Indigo Night'. By epic we mean quarter-of-a-bloody-hour in which it never outstays its welcome and truly is a very good song. There are a few routine indie bish-bash-bosh numbers such as 'Janey' and 'Turn My Face Away', although even these have a certain appeal and the lyrics are consistently decent. They brush with ska on 'Pocket Change' and 'Keep Your Chin Up Kid' and come out of it reasonably unscathed (nothing against ska, but the indie crossover thing is a minefield).
Aside from being several years too late (which you can't technically call a fault), the main hang up some people will have with certain aspects of 'These Are The Good Old Days' is the tendency to step into everyman, ladrock, living for the weekend territory. This approach made Viva Brother look horribly dated and The Enemy sound like the horrible sixth-form poets playing with a rockstar fancy dress kit. 'The Finest Hour' are better than both of those, they don't use faux bravado and pretend they're Liam Gallagher or Richard Ashcroft, and they have some genuinely decent tunes. Just how far this quality will get them is unclear, but it probably won't be far, not on this album. What they do next could be more interesting, there's clear talent at work here. However, guitar lovers shouldn't let this band slip through their fingers without at least giving them a go and reminding themselves of what those good old days were like, and how they could be again.
The Finest Hour - See For Miles
The Finest Hour - Indigo Nights
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