These Are The Good Old Days is the debut album by indie-rockers The Finest Hour. The press release accompanying the tracks extolled the quality of this new infusion of rock, indie, ska and folk. Now I don’t know about you, but I found that to be quite a terrifying statement. So with much trepidation, I put on my headphones, not really knowing what to expect.
And I was pleasantly surprised. Far from the genre and style clusterf**k that usually accompanies statements like that, These Are The Good Old Days is an incredibly tight little album, and easily one of the strongest debuts of the year. The sound is pumping guitar riff, usually staying around the rock side of indie. The bass hits hard, and the rhythm carries the album along. It’s really hard not to nod your head to these tracks. The other influences are there, mostly given more time on individual tracks. “Calverly Road” has shades of folk, whilst “Pocket Change” is a few steps away from classic two-tone ska. Yet the band have exercised a remarkable amount of control. The tracks belong together, whether it’s through the distinct ringing of the guitar, or that constant reassuring bass. It’s a truly impressive piece of overall work, even more so for a bands first release.
In ten tracks, The Finest Hour manage to cross genres with ease, and control the pace of the music expertly. Opener “Never Heard of Dylan” is a fast-moving, foot shaking radio single, whilst midway through the tracks the beautifully brief “Crooked Little Line” goes acoustic. One of the strengths here is the bands willingness to swap vocals, and allowing for different strengths. The light tones on “Crooked Little Line” make a brilliant contrast to the growl of “Calverly Road”, showing a huge range in just twelve tracks.
And in what has to be the sign of a well made album, the best is left till the second half. “Keep Your Chin Up Kid” mixes the radio friendly pulse heard on earlier tracks with a light ska riff and a well-used saxophone. “Turn My Face Away” and “See For Miles” are classic anthems which put the guitars into overdrive and let the vocals and smartly-written lyrics shine. Finisher “Indigo Night” is a 14-minute long epic, starting in rock, dummying a finish before heading into a wonderful instrumental that teases the bands ska-influences, a sing-along that I really want to hear live and more showing off. Got to give it to them, The Finest Hour have got some balls.
These Are The Good Old Days is one of the finest debut albums I’ve heard, and warrants a listen. This is a band to watch.