The Finest Hour – These Are The Good Old Days (Hey Bert Records/ October 1 2012)
By Gary Lewis
Ah, those were the good old days. Cheap gig tickets, phone boxes, 10p bus fare. I remember… The Finest Hour have released their album These Are The Good Old Days after five singles, five years and numerous staff changes, and the end result? An album of nostalgic and diverse influences, but are the rose-tinted glasses glued on, or are they facing the future with a practical, modern outlook?
These four lads from Lincolnshire have settled into their groove, and are obviously tighter than a wound-up Malcolm Tucker (without the expletive filled invective), but what do they offer a market saturated with reality show fodder, pop/dance/R&B/trance, and the occasional hard working guitar band? A competent, pleasant and not entirely diverting sound that needs a bit more oomph to be a true Lincolnshire banger.
Lead single (available from their website as a download), ‘Never Heard of Dylan’ kicks off with a big speedy, melodic riff. A classic boy-meets-girl with catchy hooks, it immediately reminds me that Brit bands singing in their own accent is a treat, and there is a level of honesty there. At times (it is the longest track on the album at just over six minutes) it does stray into Status Quo territory, with a little bit of The Futureheads thrown in for their vocal style.
On ‘Janey’, lead vocals are rich, the storytelling leaves you rapt, and the pace is fast: filled with great drum fills and propelling bass. The only problem is that they sound too clean. For a band that have sped things up (but not quite to punk level) there’s a lack of urgency, it’s not raw enough, and just a little bit nice.
‘Calverly Road’ was sent back from the 80s in a comedy rock wig; however, both vocalists harmonizing is a treat, and the quiet end rounds it off nicely. ‘Crooked Little Line’ is the obligatory acoustic ditty. Is it an intro? A sketch of a song? It’s not pre-requisite to show your sensitive side, but go on, if you have to.
‘Control’ sounds like Suede, with a dollop of Oasis thrown in for good measure. ‘Keep Your Chin Up Kid’ has a great energy with a distinct ska influence and a vocal delivery reminiscent of The Libertines’ ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’.
The Finest Hour are a band still finding their feet. They are musically sound, combining all the right elements of classic indie and rock. Paul Kavanagh and Rob Bywater are a great vocal duo (if a little restrained). It almost seems like the band is in disguise.
For a guitar band to be truly great, they need to be individual, with character, verve, wit and a gritty determination. Keep your chin up kid, it’s not your finest hour yet, but good things come to those that wait.