"...Think classic guitar riffs, soaring
melodies, tuneful expressive vocals and well crafted song writing
TODAY AND FOREVER
Length: 44:15 (min:secs)
This Belfast band came to many peoples attention in 2000 in a documentary series called “Ferry Tales”, which was broadcast on BBC 1 - it featured seven of the their songs and charted their journey from Belfast to a gig in London. They have put out four EP’s since 1999 but this is their debut album, which is an even split between the best of the older EP’s and new material.
Payola produce a crisp and slick hard rock sound, which has tremendous potential for incredibly wide commercial appeal. Think classic guitar riffs, soaring melodies, tuneful expressive vocals and well crafted song writing and you have an encapsulation of what this band is about. At times your thoughts turn to inspirational bands like ‘Cheap Trick’, ‘REM’, ‘Live’ and even ‘Damn Yankees’ for the parallel between McCarroll's and Tommy Shaw’s vocal melodies.
Almost every song is worth a mention, but the definite highlights begin with the first song. “Yesterday, Today And Forever” is a happy light uplifting song, with driving guitars through a wall of melody. “I’d Rather Be Dreaming”, “In Different Colours” and the excellent “Before You Go” have incredibly catchy and infectious hooks, which will have you whistling them uncontrollably for the rest of the day. “Keep Your Head Up” and “Love It” are hard edged and punchy AOR, where as “Carter’s Song” and “Try” are sweet ballads, oozing sentiment in an emotion tirade riding a wave of goose bumps. Finally, “We Are The Beautiful People” is pure pop-rock, a piano driven melee that has ‘single’ stamped all over it.
This is a fine and contagious album by a very good band who have an impressive professional dexterity for quality song writing and performances, and who should appeal across a whole spectrum of listeners. The only question is will their sound break the intransigent British cultural barrier of indifference, which has often been shown to melodic hard rock bands over the years - if it doesn’t then they should say shove it and try their chances in the USA, as they will undoubtedly love them over there! They are far too good to be wasted.
(30th January, 2006)