Anyone who has been to gigs over the last 30 years or so has seen ….it

That is to say the band who, all of a sudden, has an innate thing that says: “we’re here and we’re ready.”

I can think of a few over the years. Temperance Movement were one. One minute they were playing a small room above a pub on the outskirts of Brum and the next time I saw them they’d sold out the second city’s Institute. Ditto Stereophonics way back and The Darkness, who I watched go from clubs to Arenas, Stone Broken are kind of the closest recent comparison. Until now.

Now, here’s the irony: I’ve not (yet) seen Scarlet Rebels play live but the same thing applies.

“See Through Blue” has been out a week or so, it is, as I sit here and type this, number seven in the charts, and the band made the national news on Monday when their album launch got cancelled for being too “political” – lets hope the people who stopped them playing on that barge hasn’t listened to the title track (more later).

So look, the point is Scarlet Rebels are hot right now, and by crikey they know it too. Everything about “…Blue” is confident in itself and its ability to take out the competition.

The opening 15 seconds is all you need to know – and believe me 15 seconds is all you need sometimes. In this case, though, it’s all it takes for “I’m Alive” to swagger in like this world ain’t big enough for the both of you.

And, frankly, that’s it just getting started. Wayne Doyle has a way of delivering these things that makes you think he’s at Wembley. “Storm” thunders, kind of appropriately, and Chris Jones (who supplies nearly all the lead guitar here) rips one like Slash from his back pocket. That one might be the best on this album, but goodness it has some competition.

“London Story” changes tack a little – and its impressive that “See Through Blue” continues the same vibe as 2019’s “Show Your Colours” in that it isn’t arsed with sticking to the plan. There is, though an energy. There is about every single one. That’s the common thread, I guess.

Indeed as if to emphasise the point, radio friendly rock doesn’t get more radio friendly than “These Days”, which they balance out most agreeably by ensuring that “Take You Home” pushes the needle into the red and doing the kind of thing that makes you sit up and take notice.

“I Can Sleep Now” moves into ballad territory, a little. It seems to have borrowed the guitar line from Three Colours Red’s “Beautiful Day” (and if ever there was a band I thought was going to be huge it was them) while if “I Can’t Say” isn’t the one to get 10,000 fists up in the air at a festival field this summer then to be honest, I’ll close this website down so heroically out of touch must I be.

There’s no dips either. There really isn’t. “Take It” is the product of blokes I imagine that grew up in the 90s, and “Leave A Light On” (ok, I admit I was rooting for a Belinda Carlisle cover) is actually a “proper” acoustic ballad. If those are your bag then cool. This is a well done one – even down to the solo after the first chorus like Poison’s “Every Rose….” and Josh Townshend’s piano elevates it to a point where even someone like, me with not a hint of romance, would like it.

To be truthful, I am more down with the groovy “We’re Going Nowhere” (and please tell me I am not the only one who started singing “Cochise” after the intro….) and the more understated “Everything Changed” than any ballad, but that is before the last one.

Look, I am not shy of putting my politics in these reviews and when a band sings “you’re gaslighting a whole goddamn nation to push your contracts through” I will not miss the chance. Nye Bevan, the man who called Tories “lower than vermin” was born just about 50 miles from Scarlet Rebels Llanelli home, and I hope he’d be proud.

This isn’t a Billy Bragg record, though, it is an incredible rock one. Whatever you believe in. On my review of “…..Colours” I wrote that it “was the sound of a band raising the bar”. So far have they moved on since, that just isn’t appropriate any more. Instead “See Through Blue” is so good and it knows its good by the way, that this Scarlet Rebels world and we are all just living in it at this point.

Rating 9.5/10

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