Red – The James Warner Prophecies  (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

There are many unanswered questions in the world. Why does a round pizza come in a square box? Do penguins have knees? If you dig a hole at the south pole are you digging down or up? Why do birds suddenly appear? And why has it taken The James Warner Prophecies so long to make this album? After all, I’ve been humming Define for about eight years now, it’s about time I gave it a break and sapped it for something new from them. That’s a bit unfair, I guess, we are all busy people and real life has a way of taking over even the best intentions. Let’s just agree that it is good to have them back. Actually make that great to have them back.

The James Warner Prophecies has always been a rock band in the purest sense of the word. In a world fixated by genres and labels, of post-this and that-core, they have always followed in the footsteps of the likes of The Wildhearts. Not necessarily in their sound, though they sometimes skirt similar sonic playgrounds, but more in the way that they just play low-slung rock and roll and just allow themselves to be inspired by what ever musical form or function serves their purpose of the song in question. Isn’t that how it should be? (Is that a rhetorical question?)

And time may have passed but their ability to envisage, write and more importantly, deliver kick-arse (note English spelling…why shouldn’t swearing follow the rules) songs hasn’t waned. Bones offers up their trademark blend of ska-infused punk and foot on the monitor rock, Creeping Death is a Birthday Party style blasted and brooding blues number and Disappointment will have any number of so say heavy bands thinking…”so that’s how you meld melody and metal.”

Perhaps less expected are the funky grooves of Electric Sheep, the sort of thing that The Chilli Peppers might have fashioned if they came from the East Midlands and drank Jamesons rather than the West Coast, drug fuelled path that they instead followed. Their loss. Rockstar belies the bombastic nature of its title and instead is a measured yet swaggering paean to enjoying the good times whilst they last and the album bows out with the swirling, staccato riffs and almost indie vibes of 100 Shades of Hate.

The times may have changed but Red shows that this is one band which has moved with them. Their lyrics wander between pun and poignancy, social commentary and party anthem, the perfect cocktail for a world which doesn’t know the best way to react to the gathering clouds and the political divisions facing it. Red is everything you would expect and more from a band who have never seemed to have put a foot very far wrong. Perfect rock and roll for the post-genre age…what more can you ask for?

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