Years ago, just as the internet started to take over our lives – and mercifully before social media had become all pervasive – I was a member of an online community which tried to move tape trading, effectively into the modern age.

Run by a fella up on the North East, the Changes One record shop and online group opened us all up to great music.

Putting on “Real Life Glories” took me back to those times – as this type of Cheap Trick hook infused with punk grit was exactly the sort of stuff we’d have all discussed into the wee small hours back then (I wasn’t at looking porn, I swear…. Ok, I wasn’t just looking at porn.)

The six songs that make up Nicotine Pretty’s debut are more than nostalgia, though. They are instead a reminder that, like with Last Great Dreamers, there are bands making power pop on these shores too.

Ginger and Danny from The Wildhearts have been quick to praise these Welshman. One listen to the intro too “Bygone Boy” has you convinced it’s a b-side from the early days of the world’s greatest band. And, crikey, if ever you needed proof that handclaps in a chorus are the most gleeful thing in the world, then brother, it’s right here.

“This Ship Ain’t Going Down” carries on in the same vein. But also acts as a window back to bands like B-Movie Heroes, or Danny’s other band, The Yo-Yo’s. Brilliantly, Ginge Knievil (probably not his real name) and Lewis Davies, both sing in a Welsh accent to add even more authenticity.

“Bad Whiskey”, right from its solo to open, is the rock n roll at its most basic, and really is the sort of thing The Professionals have got perfected. This, though, has the dirt under its finger nails to go with the shiny hooks.

“Over The Edge”, is another that will have blokes of a certain age reaching for their Honeycrack records, and the EP is rounded off by the bands two DIY singles. “Nicotine Pretty” has the best “whoo hoo hoo” hook this side of the early Quireboys 7inch discs, and “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul” is perhaps the band at their most punk rock. You can almost see the low-slung guitars here as the beer flows to go with the good times.

The very first line on the ep, actually, might sum it up. “I don’t hang around with the gang anymore, I don’t do the wild things that I did before….”

Maybe not – and maybe all the lads and lasses from Changes One wouldn’t know who to stay up until 2am discussing music these days (when you get to our age you need your sleep) but my goodness, isn’t it great when the old spirit shines?

Rating 8.5/10


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