Review: Jack Foley
IT'S easy for guitar bands to get lost amid the current revival
that's sweeping all before them at the moment, so it comes as
some relief to find that Nine Black Alps avoid that trap and justify
their hype with debut album, Everything Is.
The long-player positively explodes into life with tracks such
as Get Your Guns, Shot Down and Southern Cross,
thereby heralding the band's arrival as Manchester's newest darlings.
Everything Is incorporates everything from the grunge
sound of Seattle, to the more straight-forward rock of California,
right down to indie-laced blasts of guitar-driven pop more akin
to Ash than Nirvana.
But it's the eclectic nature of the album that prevents it descending
into a sonic mess of attitude, beer-stained bravado and power-riff
Yes, it's best played loud, but there are a number of different
styles, and even some chilled out numbers, including the acoustic
Intermission, that demonstrates a maturity beyond the
band's years and a welcome possibility for the future.
Of the highlights, Southern Cross emerges as a triumphant
Mancunian take on the grunge-laden guitar sound of Black Rebel
Motorcycle Club, while the wailing guitars of Not Everyone
hark back to the glory days of Nirvana, right down to its rip-roaring
chorus that Cobain and co would be proud of.
A lone guitar screams out, siren-like, to herald the arrival
of the glorious Unsatisfied, which finds Sam Forrest's
strong vocals at their most melodic, while Just Friends
also contains its fair share of catchy hooks and sing-along lyrics.
The title track, Everybody Is, contains its fair share
of 60s sensibilities (conjuring memories of The Kinks' You
Really Got Me), while the grunge influence returns to heady
effect on Ironside.
Better still, however, is another of the album's slower efforts,
Behind Your Eyes, a psychedelia-laced acoustic ballad
that marks a distinct change of direction for Forrest's vocals.
It's a brilliant ode that can be appreciated by members of both
There are, of course, a couple of tracks that sound a little
lazy and power-driven, but on the whole Everything Is
succeeds in surpassing its hype and setting Nine Black Alps apart
on a peak of their own.
1. Get Your Guns
3. Not Everyone
6. Behind Your Eyes
8. Shot Down
9. Just Friends
10. Everybody Is
12. Southern Cross