FAHRAN – Fahran

cover (1)Fahran was born from the ashes of Toxic Federation, a band whom already had a couple of DIY releases under their collective belts, despite having an average age of under twenty years old.  Following the departure of Toxic’s vocalist and guitarist, a name change also bought the arrival of new band members, including vocalist Nick Whitcroft.

…And listening to this Fahran debut, what a voice he has.  He tackles each of these songs with a gritty hard rock maturity, occasionally pushing his voice a little, but mostly making the delivery of his rock-edged vocals appear easy, like a man with years of experience.  The greatness of Fahran as a band is quickly clear; following a brief instrumental piece, the upbeat ‘Silver Scene’ kicks in with intent.  Driven by a slightly muddy riff recalls the heavies moments of Skid Row’s classic ‘Slave To The Grind’, it also brings a lighter, slightly more melodic chorus could fit the style of bands like Black Stone Cherry.  Fahran don’t have the same southern drawl or bottom end groove of that particular band, but even so, their approach to a riff and heavy melodies could be seen as similar at times.  Pulling things to a close, a twin lead riff is used excellently, and overall, this track shows off most of the band’s best skills, thus making a good first impression.  ‘Cynics and Dreamers’ carries itself with a hefty stomp, as the twin guitars of Chris Byrne and Jake Graham lay down some serious chops.  This tune brings the best elements of 80s hard rock and a slightly meatier 90s sound together seamlessly, as another chugging riff is topped by some effortless, old fashioned ringing lead guitar soloing.

During ‘The Vagrant’, Alex Stroud gets to lead the way, pounding out a bass line which would befit many an eighties melodic metal classic, while another powerful vocal fills spaces over a very disjointed riff.  Between verses, those spaces are filled effectively with dirtier guitar parts, delivered with plenty of wah-wah and a little down-tuning.  As with ‘Silver Scene’ those heavier moments are joined by a very melodic chorus.  That careful balance between slightly bottom-heavy riffs and well-contructed melodic chorus proves to be Fahran’s strongest – and most consistent – calling card throughout this record.  The lead which kicks off ‘Bittersweet History’ comes as a slight surprise with it’s really eighties sound and general clarity.  Its absolutely classic tones would suggest someone within Fahran’s ranks is rather fond of many bands from the glory days of melodic rock/AOR, with the riff being particularly reminiscent of Nelson’s ‘After The Rain’.  This nod to a radio-friendly rock past isn’t just restricted to the intro either: the whole song works around that great riff, while the rest of the band sound more than confident in their roles as they approximate a recording which could have appeared on any number of classic rock discs.  While fans of classic rock should find tunes to enjoy scattered throughout this release, melodic rock aficionados would be advised to seek out this track specifically.

Following an atmospheric drum-fuelled intro, ‘Crude Design’ slips into something surprisingly off-kilter.  Yes, the kind of riffs you’ll have already come to associate with the band are still very much in the driving seat, but the time signatures shift unexepectly, allowing JR Windsor to drop in various double bass pedal moments and other unexpected fills not always present elsewhere.  While not as instantly likeable as, say, ‘The Vagrant’, a few plays in and this begins to click, thanks once again to that all important chorus – on which, Whitcroft sounds as assured as ever.  Faring a little less well, ‘Stay Alive’ sounds at first as if it’s going to be as strong as the other arrangements.   It pulls elements from each of Fahran’s strengths and the careful balance between grit and melody is very much evident, but despite a swaggering riff and big bass line, this track doesn’t seem quite as consistent. The fact that it doesn’t make quite such a lasting impression is, perhaps, testament to the powerful nature of the rest of the material. Balancing out the old school rock and occasional forays into AOR, the band go hell for leather on ‘We See Right Through You’ a full-speed rocker with the drums firmly in the driving seat.  Again, Fahran never under estimate the importance of melody, and here, they balance out the nearing speed-metal riffing of the verses with a big, mid-paced chorus modelled on classic eighties hard rock, while some near faultless twin lead guitar work filling an all too brief instrumental break.

The most important thing you need to know about Fahran, is that overall, this self-released disc is better than most of the records released by some of the labels specialising in classic/melodic rock.  It really deserves to put the band on the map.  It’s an album which should be heard by all fans of the slightly heavier end of classic hard rock.

January 2013

The Ataris: More Euro/US tour dates for 2013

In addition to the run of dates posted here, pop-punkers The Ataris have extended their upcoming 2013 tour.

The additional dates include ten shows in the UK and are as follows:

20 March Indianapolis, IN The Melody Inn
21 March Green Bay, WI The Crunchy Frog
22 March Chicago, IL Reggies
04 April Rugby, England The Vault
05 April Glasgow, Scotland Classic Grand
06 April Manchester, England NQ Live
07 April Bristol, England The Fleece
08 April Southampton, England Joiners
09 April Cardiff, Wales Clwb Ifor Bach
10 April Wrexham, Wales Central Station
11 April Norwich, England Waterfront
12 April London, England Underworld
13 April Plymouth, England White Rabbit
17 May Montreal, Quebec POUZZA FEST at Club Soda

Frank Turner to return to US for live dates in March

Popular troubadour Frank Turner will return to the US in March 2013 for a run of dates to promote his new album ‘Tape Deck Heart’, released in April.

The seven US dates are sandwiched between dates in Europe and Australia with Dropkick Murphys.

All of Turner’s confirmed dates for 2013 (so far) can be seen below.

DE 31 Jan 13 Dusseldorf (w/ Dropkicks) Mitsubishi Electric Halle
DE 01 Feb 13 Mannheim (w/ Dropkicks) Maimarkthalle
FR 02 Feb 13 Paris (w/ Dropkicks) Zenith
LU 03 Feb 13 Luxembourg (w/ Dropkicks) Rockhal
DE 04 Feb 13 Leipzig (w/ Dropkicks) Auensee
CH 05 Feb 13 Zurich (w/ Dropkicks) Komplex 457
IT 06 Feb 13 Milan (w/ Dropkicks) Alcatraz
ES 08 Feb 13 Barcelona (w/ Dropkicks) Sala Razzmatazz
ES 09 Feb 13 Madrid (w/ Dropkicks) Sala Riviera
USA 02 Mar 13 Northampton MA Pearl Street
USA 03 Mar 13 Albany NY Upstate Concert Hall
USA 04 Mar 13 New York NY Bowery Ballroom
USA 06 Mar 13 Los Angeles CA The Roxy
USA 07 Mar 13 Los Angeles CA Hotel Cafe
USA 11 Mar 13 San Antonio TX White Rabbit
USA 12 Mar 13 Corpus Christi TX House Of Rock
CN 22 Mar 13 Beijing Jue Festival
CN 23 Mar 13 Shanghai Jue Festival
AUS 28 Mar 13 Byron Bay Blues Fest
AUS 30 Mar 13 Caloundra Kings Beach Tavern
AUS 31 Mar 13 Newcastle (w/ Dropkicks) Panthers
AUS 01 Apr 13 Sydney (w/ Dropkicks) Big Top
AUS 02 Apr 13 Melbourne (w/ Dropkicks) Festival Hall
AUS 03 Apr 13 Adelaide (w/ Dropkicks) Thebarton
AUS 04 Apr 13 Perth Amplifier
NZ 06 Apr 13 Auckland Kings Arms
NZ 07 Apr 13 Wellington Bodega
UK 17 Apr 13 Manchester Academy
UK 18 Apr 13 Glasgow O2 Academy
UK 19 Apr 13 Leeds Leeds University Union
UK 21 Apr 13 Bristol O2 Academy
UK 24 Apr 13 Birmingham O2 Academy
UK 25 Apr 13 London The Forum
BE 27 Apr 13 Meerhout Groezrock

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Three UK shows in May

Yeah Yeah Yeahs are set to make a return to the UK in May, when they will play three live shows to promote their fourth album ‘Mosquito’.

The album is the band’s first album since 2009’s ‘It’s Blitz’. The Manchester and Leeds shows are regular gigs, while the London appearance is a headline for the ATP curated event ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ (also featuring Grizzly Bear and The Walkmen).

May 1 O2 Apollo Manchester
May 2 O2 Academy Leeds
May 4 Alexandra Palace London

Eric Clapton’s 21st studio album to be released in March

Veteran guitarist Eric Clapton will release a new album in March. Entitled ‘Old Sock’, the record will feature Clapton’s takes on a bunch of cover tunes, including material originally by Gary Moore, Peter Tosh and others.

Guests will include Chaka Khan and Clapton’s old Blind Faith bandmate Steve Winwood.

In addition to ‘Old Sock’s ten covers, the album also includes two unheard EC originals, ‘Every Little’ and ‘Gotta Get Over’.

The album marks Clapton’s first release since 2010’s self titled record.

Read a review of ‘461 Ocean Boulevard’ here.
Read a review of ‘There’s One In Every Crowd’ here.
Read a review of ‘Clapton’ here.