Monday 6 April 2020

Block 33 - 6:36 To Liverpool Street

Well, that was unfortunate timing - after a time spent building an audience, Facebook followers, and YouTube views, Block 33 unleash their debut album (to be supported by an Album Launch Party at the 100 Club) at the start of April.
But with the world in lockdown, the Album Launch Party is deferred to September.
The album did come out as planned though - and it ain't bad at all.  It's had a fair few spins, and there is a very high possibility this will be in the Year End lists.  It's a definite contender.

The official narrative (from the bands Facebook page):
Block 33 are a brand new mod revival band from the South of England. The band are a familiar mix of Energetic driven guitars, rolling bass, charging punk rhythms & quintessentially British, rasping yet melodic vocals that altogether make for a nostalgic sound catered for fans of the modernist subculture. 

Note the word "Energetic".
Yes, oh yes.  There's plenty of Energy here.

11 tracks all meeting the criteria/description above, with a blend of the familiar and the new.
Do you want a simple redux description:  Take the drive of Oasis, top notch songwriting and playing, add a bit of retro-Britpop, and it's getting somewhere near.
The band say themselves "Mod Revival" - now the first reference there will probably be The Jam - I reckon this is nearer to the oeuvre of The Chords - the honesty, the accent and the slight towards a fuller rock sound.
I don't like doing the redux-comparisons - believing that bands and their music should stand on their own.  And this should be no exception.

"Hit The Ground" kicks the album off, and could easily be titled "Hit The Ground Running" because that's exactly what it does.  No slow build or long intro to drag you into the bands groove.  Just BANG! and you're in.
And if it was possible, the energy is turned up another notch with "Eye Of The Hurricane" - to these ears the best of a very good bunch.
And then it just continues to bowl along.

Energetic driven guitars - Check
rolling bass - Check
charging punk rhythms - Check
quintessentially British - Check
rasping yet melodic vocals - Check

Those claims are well and truly fulfilled.  And just to help out this old duffer, the listener is offered a slight breather from all the bouncing with some acoustic and/or downbeat moments - "Lucky Day" and "Beaten" being two good examples - although "Beaten" soon rises to a rising powerful chorus.
But catch your breath, because it's all going off again soon after.
The two closing tracks could almost be partners - "High Street Blues" mourns the loss of the High Street with it's closed down shops and closed down feel, all bolted to a full-on thrash.
"For Those Who Know" seems to extend the thought to one of Escape and/or loss.  This track is another of those more reflective grooves, but with no loss of power or message. There's even a string section somewhere in there.  Despite it's rousing chorus, it all stays nicely reined in.

All this not going out stuff needs diversions, and Block 33 have certainly provided one for me.  It's got a retro feel, a familiarity, but also enough about it to make we want to champion it to anyone who'll listen.
And if this lockdown thing get's lifted in time, I may well be searching for tickets to the 100 Club in September.

Eye Of The Hurricane

(These Days Are) The Good Old Days

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