Liverpool Music Today

Various Artists
Ultimate Fake Records

Reviewed by Nigel Harrison

I went to 33-45 Parr Street to review a CD and live event on Thursday 3rd July. The event was 'Liverpool Music Today' which featured bands and singers produced by Robbie at Sonica Records who I had the pleasure of meeting and must thank for his hospitality. The featured musicians included The Kambourines, Duncan Stewart, Kaya, Strawhouses etc.

To begin with, the CD is a brilliant compilation of grassroots artists, each with their own different style, some from Liverpool, some from Norway etc. It is a great example of brand new bands, indie blending with folk, psychedelic and Bob Dylan style music. A lot of it reminded me of the early seventies.

The musicians played to quite a full house. Some caught the attention of the crowd and some didn’t. But perhaps an air of competition crept in as they were performing to each other with vibrancy.

The event began with Mark Jones as he started with the song from the album ‘Life’s Alright’, which was slow and dramatic. Following on from that he sent a message to people with his tune ‘Super Lamb Bananas’ which created a good vibe whilst being blatant and opinionated as is his ‘War Song’, which he next announced. Horrible but true to life lyrics, good song though. Finishing off was a song about writing songs but I think from what I could hear, either it was a comical song or he ran out of ideas.

Next on came Lizzy Nunnery who was announced by Kaya. She started off with a song called ‘Dancing’ which was a powerful song, sung from a lovely harmonic voice. It reminded me of a hippie style ditty as in ‘Time for Changes’ which was quiet but yet striking. ‘Concertina’ was played on a ukulele again sung with a harmonic warbling voice, ‘Hungry’ was a very folk, catchy tune.

Duncan Stewart was the Bob Dylan type of artiste, but with a modern touch and a bit of content. His voice sounded very Richard Ashcroft. Kaya from Norway strummed her way through her four songs sounding different and unique but with a slight Sheryl Crow vibe especially with the riffs. Her tune on the album, ‘Meatmarket’ was a special vibrant tune.

Tom George next sounded very Paul McCartney but with a male Bobby Gentry riff style. These four songs were nicely picked with the guitar, with an air of rebellion in his lyrics. I thought a couple of the songs were upbeat, yet the other two sounded a little insipid but inspiring at the same time. Nice easy listening melodies.

The Kambourines (also from Norway) consisted of Ragnhild Kambo Grov and Endre. This was really fast and poppy folk-rock/punk but reminded me of the early seventies. Great stuff.

The Trestles’ have shockingly vibrant soul inspiring energetic tunes. They caught the audience with their passion and positivity. Very different to other bands although the melodies were slightly slow and easy listening with the power behind it all. Definitely one to watch.

Strawhouses were the last act and I would like to mention the CD they asked me to review that they recorded separately which I will talk about later. Watching them live, I would describe them as a cross between Radiohead, Oasis and Blur all at the same time. They had great voices and a lot of passion in what they were doing. Watching them perform was like watching The Kinks in their stage presence. They were influenced by Tom Waits and Neil Young.

Finally to discuss the Strawhouses' three track EP. 'The Willing’ is very a indie, lively tune which Paul, the singer, wrote. 'Sunlight’ and ‘Photophobia’ both very Oasis (early) kind of sound. Powerful stuff. I think the band will do very well and I hope they climb up the charts. What an EP.

I had a great night and I think each band or singer had what it takes to make it big. I could have been looking at famous people in the making.

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