Hear The Track HereMy first request through the blog this month is a new five peice band to me from Manchester (a city renowned for its musicians) called Keyboard Rebel. Pop Grenade is the title of their debut album, released under the increasingly common Creative Commons licensing scheme which means that lucky ol' you can download the whole thing for free. Click the link and you will be at the charmingly titled Aaahh Records netlabel where you can either download the album for free or - if you are the more charitable sort - give a donation to Amnesty International who will get all the money from this release anyway.
What? Committed musicians? What is the world coming to? ;)
Obviously I am not going to have time to review the whole thing (especially not this month) so I thought I would single out the title track for extended treatment and give the other tracks a quick looksee. Apparently recorded in a Welsh 17th Century farmhouse, Pop Grenade doesn't come across initially as being anything but a nice little pop tune. When I say little, I mean less than two minutes which is exactly what I would call pop. There's more of an element of Blur in the way the track works out and certainly none of the guitar sturm and drang of other notable Mancunian bands. Obviously then as good as it is, Pop Grenade didn't exactly have me writing reams of praise so I had to attack the other tracks with a lot more attention to detail too - and I am glad it did.
My Lordship starts with a sub-Beach Boys vocal that definitely made me double-take and when the track powers in behind it, shows that there is a lot more to this band than one single track will show. One thing that does become clear is that Keyboard Rebel have more in common with folk pop than rock pop, with some excellent use of brass and woodwinds; see Northern Sherpa for the way this works out. Lonesome George too has some excellent sounds in and despite only being one minute and change soon became on of my favourite tracks from this very different outfit. I personally found a lot of the tracks maybe a little too understated but I guess its going to be a personal choice. Whatever I think though, I'd have to say that Pop Grenade is an excellent introduction to this artist, even if I find the whole somewhat underwhelming. There again, this is their debut release and it definitely bodes well.
Original, that's for sure. Recommended pop whimsey.