venerdì 3 luglio 2009

Farrah "Moustache"

Esordio iper melodico per i londinesi Farrah che qui partivano con la loro crociata power pop/college rock. Chitarre briose, coretti accattivati, il sole che risplende a più non posso. Insomma il vostro disco per l'este 2009 è uscito in realtà nel 2001! Sotto una bella recensione...(2001 Ark 21)

The "skinny tie" era of British pop calls to mind some very good times. Things were simpler, the harmonies flowed and there was no shortage of catchy three-minute songs about being in love, wanting to be in love, and having been in love. Even if things weren't perfect, you could dance your troubles away.
In almost every conceivable way, this new millennium seems a far cry from that earlier era, but now and again a band will rise up against the popular tide with a bouncy Britpop sound that hearkens back to the originals. Farrah is one such band, heir to big choruses and melodic radio-friendly fare, out of York in 1998, the brainchild of one Jez Ashurst.
Guitarist Jez and his school pal Mike Walker (bass) teamed up with Andy Campbell (guitar and keyboards) and Mike Hopkins (drums) to become Farrah. Like some phoenix rising from historic pop's ashes, three-part harmonies and old-fashioned song craft get animated with a new energy and a song is released.
That song "Terry" a musical cry for help to a friend from one in over his head in some London club, sold out in its first week back in August 1999. This success provided the momentum over the next year and a half for the band to write and record the songs that would become this debut album (on Miles Copeland's Ark 21 Records).
Moustache (named in honor of Mike's uncle who has the dubious distinction of owning the longest moustache in the UK -- see the lyric insert for visual verification) met with critical applause when it debuted in 2001, in fact many included it in their best of lists. The good news is that it finally is being released in the US (over a year later).
There's plenty to recommend here, including an impressive very early '80s sounding cover version of The Rubinoos' "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend".
If you like your ballads short and pretty, check out "Only Happy When She's Sad", a tale of a woman who does everything to please her man and still he cuts her down, told in just under a minute.
The second single from this CD was the infectious "Living for the Weekend". Nice guitars, wry lyrics, and great beats combine in the style of The Jagz or The Vapors or any number of groups past and present that manage to channel energy into pure pop confection. This fun summer song is a tale of some damaged goods guy ("He never acted on some great ambition / His hair was ginger but he called it titian") and a woman who lives for the weekends. Similarly, the song "Talk About Nothing" trades on that perky new age "skinny-tie" sound, mixing in a little soul in a middle bridge.
There are hints of many groups here: Supergrass, Fountains of Wayne, Teenage Fanclub, Sloan, Cheap Trick, Squeeze and more. "Tired of Apologizing" brings some horns to the affair, in a melody that's a distant relation of The Flying Machine's "Smile a Little Smile for Me". The lyrics are straightforward; he's tired of apologizing every time things go wrong.
"Lois Lane" is a lovely tune about love ("If you'll be my Lois Lane, I'll be your superman"), trading on what seems to be a popular superhero theme for lyrical fodder (e.g. Five For Fighting, XTC). "Life's Too Short" is another sweet song, inviting us to examine our relationships in consideration of number of days left to live ("life's too short to waste my time on you").
The Squeeze-like "Sofie SoFair" tells about drinking with a German schoolgirl, while the gorgeous ballad "Don't Let Them Get You Down" is a consolation song that sounds like it could have been something by The Tories.
"Seventies Superstar" is a wonderful pastiche (complete with sirens) on the disappointing aftermath of fame from decades ago, showing evidence that Farrah has plenty of musical range to take on more than just sounds from the past. There's some very tasty guitar and a confident feel that hints at much future promise.
"Goodnight God Bless" closes the CD with a pleasant piano-based ballad/anthem, that compliments its audience, and opens a bit in the middle for some more fine lead guitar, then returns to eventually invite all to "sing along to fade". This is sardonic mockery, and yet Farrah manage to make it work, mostly on the strength of the song itself. (The hidden Casio bonus track isn't really worth the wait, but is there if you have the time and inclination).
While this music won't change the world, it's really well done. One wonders what direction might come on the next release, whether it will be more of the same or not. Thankfully, the wait won't be long (the Website claims Farrah are in the studio now and promise a new release by the end of 2002).
For those fans of good old-fashioned British power-pop who didn't rush out to get Moustache a year ago, you've got your second chance now, better late than never. Summer is the perfect time for such sweet musical sunshine. Head to the beach in your convertible, wax up your handlebar moustache, and crank these Farrah tunes as loud as you can. (

- Terry
- I wanna be your boyfriend
- Only happy when she's sad
- Living for the weekend
- Tired of apologising
- Lois Lane
- Life's too short
- Sofie so far
- Don't let them get you down
- Talk about nothing
- Seventies superstar
- Goodnight God bless


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