Review: Jack Foley
IAIN Archer has been around the block a little bit. Just glancing
at his biography, gives you a fair idea of the long road it has
taken for the singer-songwriter to deliver this debut effort.
The talented musician is hitherto best known as guitarist of
the Reindeer Section and Snow Patrol, and contributed tellingly
to that bands overdue success on the single, Run.
In solo form, it is clear that much of what Archer has been forced
to endure, and subsequently learn, has translated to the overall
tone of the record.
Flood the Tanks is, therefore, a gutsy debut; one which
deals with the universal issues of loss, struggle and discovery,
but one which, by the singers own admission, contains an
uplifting message based on a profound belief in the resilience
of the human spirit.
It starts very brightly, with the Coldplay-inspired opening track,
Pressure Drop, and continues to hold your attention to
the midway point, where it begins to tail off a little.
Yet it does mark Archer out as a bright talent to watch, rather
than a guitarist-turned-singer who really ought to have known
better (as is the case with John Squire).
Tracks such as former single, Boy Boy Boy, contain a genuinely
rousing, feel-good quality about them, while the presence of Snow
Patrol, on closing track, That One You Always Do, even
encapsulates the esteem with which he is held within the industry.
Archer states that, on this record, he wanted to pick apart
what is assumed it means to be a singer songwriter, stripping
it back until I felt I had reached bare bones, and describes
the process as an unlearning.
And certainly, there is a raw quality to the lyrics, born out
by the artists personal journey to the point where he thought
an album was possible from him.
Hence, while comparisons with the likes of Coldplay, Badly Drawn
Boy and David Gray seem almost inevitable, it does just enough
to mark the singer out in his own right, especially given the
obvious passion he objects into proceedings.
For some, this may be a little ponderous, and the album does
tend to sound a little repetitive late on, but during the opening
tracks - such as Running in Dreams, Not Yourself, Summer Jets
and I Wasn't Drinkin' But You Got Me Drunk - there are
very definite glimpses that Archer is a name to look out for in
Flood the Tanks is, for the most part, a very accomplished
1. Pressure Drop
2. Running In Dreams
3. Boy Boy Boy
4. Not Yourself
5. Does This Have A Name
6. Summer Jets
7. I Wasn't Drinkin
8. A Few Conclusions
9. The Shadow
10. That One You Always Do
11. Mirrorball Moon