I don’t know how I’m supposed to fit a band into a genre when they describe themselves as being influenced by pretty much every style of music under the sun, from country to jazz to power pop, so I won’t even try. What I will tell you, though, is that The Contrast’s most recent gig was supporting Mott the Hoople at personal invitation by Overend Watts, and they’ve got a fan in Steven Van Zandt, who signed them to his US label Wicked Cool Records, on which they released two of their first six albums. Pretty damn rock n’ roll if you ask me, and not bad going for four guys from Peterborough!
Following success in the US with their American label, The Contrast have now signed to UK label Angel Air for the release of their 7th album, A Sinister Flick. Sixteen songs long, and bringing together their penchant for catchy, melodic tunes, you could do a lot worse than be the proud owner of this CD, or MP3 if that’s your bag.
Title track: A Sinister Flick
Kicking off with We Are the Monsters, an echoey, psychedelic style song, this is a really strong album from the outset. It’s clear to me why this song was regularly featured on Van Zandt’s Underground Garage show, and was on the poll for his Coolest Songs in the World 2013!
My favourite song from the album has to be Mr Antenna – it’s got a bass line to die for, and kind of makes me think of an animation in the form of a song, if that makes any sense to you! I love, love, LOVE the addition of the theremin – it’s a perfect fit. There are layers within this song that aren’t noticed on a first listen, but the more you hear it, the more you can hear of the detail. It’s really quite complex, but has cleverly been made into this catchy little tune. Cracking stuff! Here’s a live version of the song:
Skipping chirpily along with the album, I hear the Beatles-esque pop fest of Days of Wonder, the upbeat yet melancholic style, reminiscent of R.E.M., of Johnny the Torch, and the crunchy guitar sounds of Mr Snake. I feel that I’ve been treated to what I wouldn’t describe as a concept or theme album, exactly, but a characterful, intelligent, humorous, credible album that was put together with thought and care by its creators.
Johnny the Torch: