The Rising: Self-Titled – album review

The Rising – Self-Titled (Self-released)
CD/DL
Out May 13th

If the likes of Jake Bugg and the Strypes can do well with their faux authenticity of sounding like an act from the Sixties then there is a place for Southampton retro-mod good-time-charlies the Rising in the 2013 popscene says Ged Babey.

“The Rising are fronted by Tommy Overington. He′s a star, and he means it! Great tunes and a great band” Alan Mcgee – Creation Records

It’s probably the same in every other city but Southampton has a lot of young bands who favour the Fred Perry polo-shirt and have a name that starts with a THE… The definitive article. I guess they want to join the litany of Great British bands like The Who, The Small Faces, The Jam and it goes without saying of course, the Fab Four.

Ironically, or perhaps tellingly, Oasis didn’t have a The. Nor did Nirvana – arguably the two most influential bands of the past twenty years. I was mulling over a vague theory the other day about bands predominantly influenced by Nirvana tending to be more middle-class and the Oasis-favoured ones more “working-class”. Discuss…. whilst having a listen to the Rising maybe, who hail from the council estates of Shirley, Milbrook and Lordshill “with the exception of Matty our drummer who is from the more refined Chandlers Ford area”.

With dire, hippy band(name)s like Fleet Foxes, Foals and Peace fashionable, you need a good strong The band to come back in style. The annoying rise of the Pitchfork-type, Alt-Americana bearded hipster band in the media, exactly what Steve Lamacq was talking about recently when he bemoaned how UK bands were getting ignored, means it is good to hear a band like the Rising and how immediate & refreshing they sound; full of positive energy, catchy tunes and a vibrant immediacy. “We recorded live in the studio, it just didn’t work trying to record our parts separately…” Tommy told me. He wears one of those Sixties style caps, as worn by Liam Gallagher, John Lennon and Dan Treacy. Unashamedly retro the Rising may be but familiarity breeds content(ment) sometimes and a good solid tune beats a drifting meander or pastoral vibe anyday.

Detractors and naysayers will tell you that there is absolutely nothing new or original about the songs and music played by the Rising, and they’d be right but its done with an apparent ease and a swagger and such love that it just melts away (my) cynicism.

Their website says:

Influenced heavily by the 60′s mod scene, late 70′s punk and the 90′s Britpop era, The Rising encapsulate their influences and wear them proudly on their sleeve to give you their own blend of adrenaline fuelled Rock ‘n’ Roll!!

I would refute the 70’s punk bit to be honest and there is still a lot of the Liam Gallagher about Tommy’s vocals and onstage moves, but its all the best bits of Oasis and the Kinks and the Small Faces in the form of original songs about girls & dreams, good-times and real-life dramas.

There are tribute bands who play locally called the Tiddly-Kinks and the Small Fakers, who I’m told are very good indeed. They probably play to far bigger audiences and get paid twice what the Rising do. They could do that but choose to do it their way. It’s taken the band three years of saving every penny they’ve made as a band to fund the album and they are rightful proud of the results.

The eponymous Album (I’d have called it “Son”) is confident, well-recorded, a great mix of tempos, toe-tappers and a couple ballads.

Always Let You Down stands out as a heart-strings-tugger with great harmonies and may be more of a Hollies sound than Beatles. Uncharacteristically for me I even like the harmonica.

Cloud Nine is a ballsy rocker with great drumming and squalling guitar, a live favourite no doubt.

 

Think Tank has nice rootsy rhythmn and blooze feel and guitarists Jimmy and Ryan play with beautiful economy; not trying to dominate the overall sound like so many six-string cowboys. Show Me the Money too is the nearest they get to Strypes-like punk energy, and I love the way Tommy sings the lines “Get that monkey off my shoulder!” and “I won’t fall like Jack an’ Jill”).

There are a couple misfires; Story of My Life is just too Oasis-by-numbers and a song called “My Small Faces and My Kinks CD’s” is just too obvious a signposting…and if they were cool they’d have them on vinyl cos they’d sound better! Life has surface noise.

Hey You is a six-minute Gallaghers-go-Motown epic with a phone-directory full of clichés and aphorisms, but somehow gets away with it.

Album closer Strangers in the Night is not the Sinatra song but a true anthemic epic of Wonderwall proportions. The backing vocals from Girl Group the Fliks and guest Hammond player Sam James make it complete. If you download one track, this is the one.

People who know me well will mock me mercilessly as I’ve always been a vociferous hater of Oasis and “everything they stand for” but the Rising have transcended their influence and have enough personality and the songs to continue to break free of being alleged Oasis rip-offs. They’ve listened hard to all of the greats that inspired the Gallaghers and have come up with their own recipe. I would point them in the direction of the Milkshakes & the Prisoners and the Sonics though for further inspiration but that’s just my taste.

If you like your music authentically retro and of a certain 60’s via the 90’s vintage made by unpretentious geezers with the necessary fire and skill then you’ll love the Rising.

(Oh yeah, The Rising. Son. I get it…good one!)

The Rising play an album launch at the Cellar, Southampton on Friday 10th May with mates and rivals Welcome Pariah and the Novatones, but all the tickets have sold out!

They have another gig May 25 at Lennons, Southampton with the Merrylees

The Rising’s website is here. They’re also on Facebook & Twitter.

 

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