Review: Jack Foley
THE term ‘next big thing’ seems to be bestowed upon
virtually every indie band at the moment, so it’s beginning
to tire in terms of what’s genuine, and what’s not.
The latest to find themselves placed in that bracket is Liverpool-based
five-piece, The Open, courtesy of their sweeping debut album,
The Silent Hours, which is drawing favourable reviews
from everyone from the NME to Radio 1.
As to whether such praise is warranted will probably depend on
how much you like the sweeping style of epic song-writing that
is more usually associated with the likes of The Verve, Teardrop
Explodes, Doves and, more recently, Longview and Thirteen Senses.
As lead singer, Steven Bayley, states: "Our music’s
not trendy. It’s honest. There’s no guard up, no bullshit.
It’s a big sound with someone in the middle of it screaming
their heart out."
As such, it may not carry the instant success, or accessibility,
of, say, Franz Ferdinand or Keane, but it certainly seems poised
to be included among the best-of lists, come the end of the year.
In truth, the album sometimes seem a little pondering, while
its themes bring nothing new to the genre.
Tracks such as Coming Down are filled with the type
of angst-ridden lyrics (‘when did we start coming down?’)
that are the norm for this sort of thing.
Yet just when you think you’ve heard it all before, The
Open catch you out.
Former single, Just Want To Live, and Step Into
The Light, possess that sweeping, impassioned rock-sound
that is serving to generate the praise (particularly from live
performances), while providing a fitting showcase for Bayley’s
brash vocal style.
Occasionally, it even transcends the dark subject matter, courtesy
of the majestic guitars of both Bayley and Jon Winter, justifying
the message behind it - which is, believe in yourself and leave
the past behind.
Other tracks, such as Elevation and Lost, amply
demonstrate the ability to do this.
But be warned: the long-player does inhabit the sort of territory
Radiohead seem to have set up camp in.
For as Bayley states, once again: "Lyrically, it’s
a dark record. For me, so many important times have been when
I’ve been at rock bottom, and those feelings are reflected
on the album.
"It’s head music. If there’s any message, it’s
quit the job, leave the town, search for whatever you’re
looking for. You never know, you just might find it…."
Those of a similar disposition just might like to find this!
1. Close My Eyes
2. Bring Me Down
6. Just Want To Live
7. Step Into The Light
8. Coming Down
9. Can You Hear