Discount Columbo often wear their musical references fairly honestly on their sleeves, but to write them off as mere retro revivalists or pedlars of rose-tinted nostalgia is to totally miss how the baton of music get passed on from one generation to the next. Yes, they fit neatly into the lighter, more jaunty end of the Britpop heyday but just as this young band looks to that era for inspiration, those bands were also looking back to the likes of The Who, The Beatles and The Kinks. Look beyond the obvious and you find the ghosts of some classic and quintessentially English songwriters floating around in the background.
Opening salvo Oh Me, Oh My, Oh No! channels more than a touch of Ray Davis as if jogs jauntily along and Irish Girl plays with some celtic vibes but after that the music wanders into some less obvious territory. This Time is as good a pop ballad as Ricky Ross ever came up with and a set of sublime harmony vocals really helps to delivery that idea home.
I’m sure these guys haven’t even heard of Energy Orchard, but Hear Me Now splices the folk ballad and the emotive rock epic in the same way that those little known Irishmen did 25 years before them. And that, I guess is the thing about writing music and delivering songs, beyond all of the intentional creation and purposeful crafting, the results will always become the vehicle for old ghosts, past musical prowess and the intangible spirits of days gone by. What you think is merely another bunch of young lads putting a few songs together can often be just the latest moment in a process that threads back through past glories and a way of ensuring that that indomitable creative force gets, at least in some small way, to live again. And they probably aren’t even aware that is what is happening.