First off, apologies to the lads – this has sat for far too long in the pile. The thing is though, all that time it was getting spun. It’s one of those albums that’s easy to listen to, but bizzarely difficult to sit and write about. That’s probably because it’s got real get up and go – writing about it somehow seems like wasted time.
The foremost reason for that is its accessibility. The Co. Tyrone old hands make no bones about it – they’re not trying to be underground, hard, or indeed anything other than a great rock band. That much was obvious from their demo, which gained the appreciation of many round these parts.
This new album is a step up in terms of production. It’s powerful, well balanced rock, with an especially satisfying chug from the double kick (‘Fallen’). The guitars are chunky, and the vocal are well pitched.
It opens oddly though, with a stop / start motif that doesnt entirely work. This is a curious choice. It might be neat in the live situation, showing how tight the band are and lending a little trickery. On cd though, it’s just a bit strange. This idiosyncracy doesnt last though, and ‘Battle Song’ itself is otherwise as decent an opener as you could ask for.
‘Dark Tide’ has something of a Lizzy / Horslips feel about it, with a decent gallop and more great drumming. ‘Shake’ is darker, and more considered, building to a memorable finale. It’s all spot on, and ‘Touched’ has a certain amount of 80’s rock style about it as well.
Just as their their release did, this album proves why A Little Bitter are such a decent and reliable rock proposition. Both live and on cd they’re uncomplicated, driving and accessible power rock music – nothing more and absolutely nothing less. They’ve got no pretensions, have no ideas above their station, yet pump out some crystal clear and incisive tunes that are satisfying and moreish.
They still havent done their best work – that much is hinted at from the best tunes on here. I reckon they can drive just that bit harder and achieve a ‘hit’ of sorts. If they keep writing at this rate, and make some judicious publishing moves, you could be very surprised where these troopers end up.
3.3 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 19/11/09