One of the downsides of being a music writer for a living is that all sorts of sounds find their way to my desk, music that, let’s say, isn’t exactly in my comfort zone. So after a morning spent trying to eek out some positivity from production line pop or struggling to be critically upbeat about yet more landfill indie, it is always a sigh of relief when a band like Fennr Lane crop up on the “to do” list.
I’ll admit it; I’m an old school rocker and songs like Time to Ruin feels like coming home. But that might sound as if I am dismissing the song as just the same old same old. Far from it. For whilst there is always going to be an element of the familiar about what is going on here, there is something musically dark and elegant at work too. The musical building blocks may be instantly recognisable but what is being built with those materials is still something inspiring, fresh and appealing.
The backbeat drives relentlessly, the bass line pounds out a tribal dance, guitars fire off white-hot salvos and almost industrial edged riffs, and the vocals have exactly the right blend of attitude and world-weariness to complete the picture. For far too long have we been subjected to screaming metal bands who feel the need to throw two albums worth of notes into every song or melodic posers watering down the essence of rock and roll for a unit shifting, chart orientated career. But there is another way.
What Fennr Lane realise is that rock music thrives best at a point where solidity meets melody, where intensity meets accessibility and simple grooves and solid beats serve much better than trying to show off or pander to popularity. In a couple of generations time people will look back at music such as this and define it as classic rock for their age and I guess as accolades go it doesn’t get better than that.