Wednesday, 04 June 2014 00:00

'Sell Everything You Own' - Album Review Featured

Every now and again you find an album that takes you by surprise; new songs that you immediately enjoy for both their freshness and a willingness to offer a reverential nod to records you've loved in the past.
For me The Standard Lamps 'Sell Everything You Own' is one of those records. It is packed full of great choruses, inventive playing, a sense of fun and above all an aspiration to add to, as well as celebrate, the lexicon of great British pop music.
Main songwriter Mike Wilton is obviously well schooled in music history and this record wears its Beatles and Kinks influences with pride. I should distinguish here, that this is by no means a shallow wannabe of an album – it is more a celebration of a musical 'Britishness', similar in a way to Blur's 'Modern Life Is Rubbish'.
Opener The Right Train, eases us in gently as the bass line emerges from the soundtrack of a railway station. To borrow the train analogy, it takes a while for the song to pick up speed, giving us time to settle in and side with the songwriter, 'I've been saving all my money just to get to you'. It has the makings of a great song already but like so many tunes on this record, The Right Train is not happy to be just that. It is crammed with ideas taking you off on tangents, almost songs within songs that have the uncanny knack of going off on an interesting diversion but then managing to successfully bringing you back on track. You reach your destination – just not by the route you were expecting to take.

Portland starts with a skiffle 'feel', and is driven along by a pounding rhythm - then along comes a classic rock guitar solo to shake things up. The Harmonica Song is a big hearted bluesy number with the harmonica lead being replaced by guitars as it reaches its crescendo. New Addison Way kicks off with a killer groove of a bass-line, the tune then builds and builds finally reaching a Zeppelin like crescendo as Mike's vocal duels with a band in full flight.

'Distraction' slows things down and gives Mike's, not to be underestimated, voice and lyrics the chance to take centre stage, "I'm like you, too much talk, not enough actions, to many distractions". This beautiful tune is topped off by some great guitar work – just one of many examples on this record.

I must admit to not being a big fan of the album closer, The Girl Who Came To Stay, but by this point I'm already converted!

It's taken me a while to get round to writing a review for this record, as with many albums you immediately enjoy the thrill but the enjoyment can often wane just as quick. For me however, that is just not the case with The Standard Lamps 'Sell Everything You Own' - it remains a pleasure. Not only is it packed full of great tunes but it successfully achieves that delicate balancing act of paying reverence to its influences, whilst creating a unique identity of its own.

Review by J.C. Verrall
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Sell Everything You Own by The Standard Lamps

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