TAKE ME DOWN
Length: 39:50 (min:secs)
Recorded at Rockfield Studios.
It’s so easy to become blasé when you’ve been reviewing music for some time, but every now and again an album will come along that pours a metaphorical bucket of ice down your trousers, waking you efficiently from your musical slumber and reinvigorating your faith that there’s some tremendous talent out there. 'Amplified Life Stories' by The Misers from Herefordshire is one of those albums and signals the renaissance of Neil Ivison (vocals/guitar) and Adam Barry (Hammond/Rhodes), who form the nucleus of the band and have been involved in a rich dynasty of previous music that spans the last ten years.
As a starting point, it can be useful to have an idea where The Misers take their music. Well, they take it on an alluring road trip that would share the driving with Ryan Adams, have The Faces in the back, The Stones would be on the radio and they’d stop to pick up a hitchhiking Ian Hunter. It’s clean, simple and gives a feeling of class with just a touch of decadence; it’s like they’re blissfully driving between the sundrenched Herefordshire apple orchards just admiring the view, but in a red 55’ Chevy Bel-Air Convertible!
'Amplified Life Stories' is a clear, pure and refreshing glass of water in a world full of over sweetened and artificially flavoured fizzy drinks. It demonstrates that less really can be more and that there is no need for rhetoric, only carefully placed pieces each of which are essential to the whole picture. The songs form a storyboard for a real life narrative and the delicate fusion of soul and folk are coloured with a strong influential hue from country life and are gently energised with the earthy footprints of rock.
It’s an album containing ten short chapters of unadorned, rural chronicles that are explained in the impassioned and soulful tones of Ivison’s voice, within an uncluttered musical framework of clean guitars and picturesque keyboards. Barry’s discerning use of the classic Hammond organ particularly adds vibrant character and instant atmosphere in all the important places. “Take Me Down”, “Give It Up For Love”, “Call Me Anytime” and “Don't Let Go” each immediately tug at your consciousness for attention, but to specifically call them highlights would be most unfair to the six other equally enjoyable songs on the album and together they manage to sustain a very gratifying level of consistency throughout.
With their stylish debut, The Misers give you an all too irresistible opportunity of being part of something special - it’s one of those albums you’ll want to be the first to play to your friends. So beg, borrow or steal a copy of 'Amplified Life Stories' before you're beaten to it and your friends are playing it to you!
- Dave Yates
(1st April, 2009)