A little bit of everything on album number three

The notion of overnight success is an odd one, if indeed it ever existed at all. Stadium botherers now they may be, but even the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi had to pay considerable dues before their breakthrough records.

For both of those, it was album number three that did it, which is precisely where Albany Down find themselves right now.

The London based four piece have already had a couple of goes, with Greg Haver twiddling the knobs as he does for acts like Inme, the Manics, and Super Furry Animals. “The Outer Reach” though concerns itself with a much different kind of musical landscape.

In contrast to the other acts mentioned, it is not a “Born To Run” nor is it a “Slippery When Wet” – although there is definite hint of classic Jovi, that is to say before they went shit, about a number of the tracks.

Rather Albany Down have headed down the road of making a very British sounding hard rock record.  Opener “Feeding The Flame” recalls Led Zep in its mighty intro, before settling down for swaggering on the verses, while it’s even more strident follow up “Do You Want Me Now?” isn’t going to win any prizes for originality of lyrics but will strike a chord with anyone who wants to be more than friends with the love of their life (not MV you understand, no sir……) and “Revolution” as a kind of Thunder thing going on – indeed it’s tempting to suggest that Albany Down are only a support tour with Danny Bowes and the boys away from being massive.

And if that is high praise then it is well deserved for a record that is shot through with a class that comes from mastering their craft. Because what they do better than most is take some deviations from the norm. “Supersonic Girl” is like the Electric Boys at their best as it funks its way around, “Mr Hangman” – again, if we are honest, not the most original song you’ve ever heard – is southern rock done right, while “The Drop”, which is another to use horns really well, and the even better “Look What You’ve Done To Me” does likewise, but is the best song on a very fine record.

No record of this type is complete without its share of tear-jerking, big ol ballads and that holds true here too, “Like A Bullet” which sees the narrator be unable to let go of a relationship that should be long since confined to memory (again, not MV, really……) is huge, “Home” seems like its going to break into “Wanted (Dead Or Alive”) at any moment, and the downright gorgeous “Sing Me To Sleep” ends the record with some rare aplomb.

That Albany Down might not make the crossover breakthrough they no doubt dream of – and perhaps might have achieved in a different era – with album number three probably says more about the awful state of the music industry right now than anything else. It most certainly is no reflection on them.  With “The Outer Reach” they’ve made their statement, they deserve to be heard and you need to listen to it.

Rating 8.5/10

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