Having seemingly settled into the role of engineer and producer in recent years, Samuel Bates return to his own musical cause seemed to come like a bolt from the blue. The odd rumour hinted that he had gathered the great and good of past musical associations around him when suddenly a video was unleashed on a very unsuspecting public as a teaser for this forthcoming e.p. And if Where I Wanted To Be suggested the M4 corridors very own answer to Wilco, the eponymous record to follow surpassed even those great expectations.
That lead single, a wonderful alliance of British and American roots influences, with sublime organ breaks pushing the song upwards through a wonderful dynamic build, was however just one part of the equation. The equation is completed by It’ll Be Alright built from the same rattling, musical hall sing-along vibe that lay at the heart of The Small Faces more wayward excesses, the country-soul of Miss You and the gorgeous, George Harrison infused, ballad, Monster.
The enhanced edition of the e.p. gives access to various videos and bonus material but it is worth the extra money for the bonus track alone, Oh My God, another song that seems to suggest time well spent listening to Jeff Tweedy and his aforementioned acolytes. I don’t want to over state this reference point but I can’t think of many bands who are blending roots and rock, country and soul in quite the way that they do and certainly none on this side of The Atlantic…until now that is.