The Senior Service is an English band that specialise in sixties influenced instrumental music. The members are seasoned musicians Jonathan P. Barker (keyboards), Graham N. Day (guitar), Darryl R. Hartley (bass), and Wolf D. Howard (drums, percussion). These guys have been and are part of bands such as The Daggermen, The Buff Medways, The Prisoners and Thee Mighty Caesars. The Senior Service have two albums to their name with `The Girl In The Glass Case` and `King Cobra` and have a new 10” EP `A Little More Time` due out this month with the addition this time of singer / songwriter Rachel Lowrie providing vocals.
This 10” opens with `Everyone’s Stranger Than Me` and we are immediately transported back to a time when a beehive haircut was all the rage and singers like Dusty Springfield and Tom Jones were our blue eyed soul singers and Geno Washington and Jimmy and the Vagabonds were starting to make a name for themselves. It`s wonderfully retro but at the same time so authentic. The swirling organ, beating drum, pounding keys and understated guitar chord riffs wash in and around as Rachel`s delightfully rich vocal relays the frustrations of life in an almost indifferent manner. There`s a much more mystical vibe to `Seasons Of My Mind` which took me back to my childhood of watching shows like British private detective television series Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) where this could have been the theme tune or at least for some similar show. Again, the organ and piano keys led us along this captivating period piece.
The band share their take on John Schroeder’s `Lovin’ You Girl` and give it a more Northern soul texture ala Dexy`s Midnight Runners `The Teams That Meet in Caffs` rather than it`s more original easy listening feel. I felt `Just A Little Time` had a superbly dreamy sensibility about it and had me drifting off and took me away from all life`s day to day issues for a little while. It was brilliantly contemplative.
`If You’re Not There` is a killer track that seems to have it all. At times it was larger than life not quite orchestrated but heading there but it had that quite cinematic feel and could easily have been the soundtrack song for one of the sixties James Bond movies `Dr No`, `Goldfinger` or `Thunderball`, the choice is yours. This release closes out with the band`s reimagining of `Mysterious Land` a track that was originally cut by The Chris Lamb Orchestra who were fronted by trumpeter Chris Lamb whose band were popular around Kilburn from 1963 to 1968. It`s a charming earworm of a track and does the number justice by retaining that heavenly brass resonating soundscape.
`A Little More Time` is a stunner, the six tracks come in at just over twenty minutes in length and I’d encourage you to put some space aside and give it a blast. I guarantee it will be time so well spent and will reward you in spades. The instrumental tracks are cracking but with the addition of Rachel Lowrie on vocals is a match made in heaven. She`s an undiscovered gem. Do yourself a favour and acquire a copy of The Senior Service`s latest opus, it`s twenty minutes of aural pleasure,