The 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s are all famous decades of music. Modern music will always be indebted to these eras for influencing one obsessed musician and who in-turn influences another, and so on until that knock-on sequence shapes the artists we love today. These periods were star-studded and defined by the likes of Iggy Pop and The Stooges, Guns N’ Roses and Queens of the Stone Age. These are all of course heavy influences of Wakefield’s rejuvenated Rock N’ Rollers The Sourheads.
People well-versed with these eras may be able to pluck out these various influences on their debut album Care Plan For The Soul better than me. There’s a kinda ‘sleazy rock’ swagger-vibe to the vocals, a pelting punkiness to the verses, a fuzziness to the guitar which sounds straight out of the history books. There’s a fair bit going on but if I were to categorise this sound, I’d go for ‘Dad Rock’. It sounds like your old man has got the old band back together and they’re rehearsing in the garage.
Here’s the thing, The Sourheads: tambourines, whiskey singing, wah-wah pedals and the incessant amount of rock beat on this album are heralding and emblematic of another era altogether. It’s 2017 for crying out loud – very nearly 2018.
Nothing on this album attempts to bring some modern spark or injection to these older styles – that’s my biggest gripe. If you’d have taken this style and somehow fused it with something new, updated it in line with the digital market you’re catering to – yeah, I can get behind that. But you haven’t. You could have released this decades ago and nobody would have batted an eyelid (bar the obvious leap in technology). Nothing from opening track Demon made me want to listen to the following eight painfully long tracks – that’s an egregious, technical shortcoming in my view.
Anyway, I did persevere and so the album drones on, frustratingly, like an argument in an empty room, all this indeterminate rage really going nowhere from vocalist Jake Coxon. I’m not even going to try and separate the tracks because there’s very little making them distinguishable besides a sloppy off-beat in Secret Cigarette and a 12/8 time signature in Mad Dog – which also proffers an uncomfortable crescendo to the album. If I had to stretch myself to pick a favourite it would probably be Don’t Get Caught (I Am The Lotus) – like, it’s alright.
If you still love rocking out to music from 30 years ago: great, each to their own, this album is probably for you. I’m not saying there isn’t a niche for this: Christmas is coming up, maybe get it for your Dad’s glovebox collection. But if you like to keep on top of modern music, The Sourheads should be reserved for a Battle of the Bands tournament: [2/10]
Care Plan For The Soul is out now here.