The Rochester outfit are back with their fourth album 'And Then it Fell Out Of My Head'. They have been a secret for far too long, but, with backing from Steve Lemacq, this record seems set to spread their message far and wide.
Despite their lack of coverage, their confidence has certainly not diminished. It is an album packed with potential singles (if only people bought them). So, its only fitting they lead off with former single 'Port Bou'. It bristles with their archetypal Mersey-pysche sound and has the feel of a beloved underdog.
'Locked Together On The Lines' recalls the tale of frontman Oliver's Nan finding a dead sailor and prostitute at Chatham's war memorial, The Great Lines. Every facet oozes brilliance. Vocally, the human touch shines through on what is a tragedy. Sonically, the guitars blend the breeziness and haziness of The La's with the pop instincts of The Bluetones.
The real star though, are the lyrics. They build the intrigue immediately with brilliant opening ‘did he woo her / did pay her’. Prostitutes are so often viewed as second class citizens which, is deftly portrayed here with anonymity:
‘a sailor lay with a stranger now frozen in time’
This albums real success lies with 'Standing In The Land'. The bravery alone to talk about fear and confusion over refugees should be applauded. The opening line will stop all in its wake:
“it seems clear to me / how can we be free/ when there is dying in the sea / Because of you and me”
Usually, social comment is reserved for political angst or sub-cultures in full flow. This goes one further and relays an actual conversation with the accessibility of Gogglebox. It's laced with anguish, guilt and regret, it is a triumph of inputting pure feeling into a song not seen since Primal Scream's 'Damaged'.
At times, on 'Teardrop' and 'Will Someone Please Write Me A Song', your left with a sense that their magic has waned somewhat. Upon further reflection, it's a testament to how many potential singles they have. Few can deny the brilliance of the harmonica on 'What Has Become of Me' ,witty lyrics and the dejected isolation projected in its closing moments.
Theatre Royal may not be new, but with this album, they have certainly arrived.
The album is out now. Find it on their Bandcamp page here: