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One Night Only - Started A Fire

One Night Only, Started A Fire

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

YORKSHIRE’S One Night Only could be described as the first great indie-pop hopefuls of 2008. Their profile has been steadily gaining momentum since the release of singles You And Me and, latterly, Just For Tonight.

But while they seem to have the knack for catchy hooks and melodies, and have garnered comparisons with bands like The Kooks, their debut album Started A Fire is merely OK. Produced with the help of Steve Lilywhite, it’s a slick, polished effort but it doesn’t really do anything we weren’t already expecting.

Opening track Just For Tonight gets things off to a high-flying start and is a genuinely endearing indie-pop gem that underlines their ability both vocally and instrumentally. While the cheeky riffs and breezy style continue on another of the album’s highlights, It’s About Time, when lead singer George Craig seems to be having fun wrapping his lips around the melodies and shouting out the occasional “oh oh oh”, presumably with live performances in mind.

But I’ve never really been taken with their early single You And Me, which just sounds too generic despite its manic energy and keen sense of bounce. It’s not that it’s a bad song, just the type of which has been done before (and arguably better) by a lot of bands. I guess it’s at this point you begin to realise that One Night Only aren’t really striving to do anything different, or to stand out from the current indie-pop pack.

After a dispiriting piano opening which threatens to veer into the hopelessly cherry territory occupied by bands like The Feeling, He’s There at least injects some grittier guitar hooks but continues to provoke easy comparisons with The Kooks, while Start Over is pure album filler – confidently delivered and dripping in melody, but another that’s kind of the same.

It’s Alright makes a fair stab at combining the piano chords with some boisterous drum loops and contains some good lyrics, while Sweet Sugar works by exercising a little more restraint that usual – and is a lovely little ode to love that’s nicely delivered by Craig. It could easily become a future single and a massive hit – the organ solos work particularly well without ever threatening to become sappy.

I liked final track Hide too, which again adopts a slower build approach and adds some maturity and depth to their song composition. It’s the closest the album comes to an epic track and Craig rises the challenge vocally, while the rolling riffs in the background are as imposing as they impressive. The final few moments, when the song strips completely back to a lone atmospheric organ, also helps to ensure the album ends on a memorable note while serving to show that One Night Only do have the potential to become a very bright act, so long as they continue to stretch themselves with songs like this.

Sadly, the album as a whole could have used more songs like this mixed in with breezier gems like Sweet Sugar and It’s About Time. But let’s not be too negative. Started A Fire certainly ignites the flames of possibility; it’s now left to Craig and company to ensure they’re fanned in the right way.

Download picks: Just For Tonight, It’s About Time, It’s Alright, Hide, Sweet Sugar

Track listing:

  1. Just For Tonight
  2. It’s About Time
  3. You And Me
  4. He’s There
  5. Start Over
  6. Time
  7. Stay At Home
  8. It’s Alright
  9. Sweet Sugar
  10. Hide