As a Moderator/Reviewer on the Fresh on the Net website, I’m no stranger to off-centre ‘grungesters’ False Advertising, whose track I Don’t Know, I reviewed after it was voted onto the #FOTN #FRESHFAVES list mid July : read the review here #falseavertisingreview. So, it was very much a pleasure then, to be offered the chance to preview their debut eponymous album, due for release later this week.
“Raw, gritty, sassy and ambitious – on 4th September 2015, False Advertising release their self-titled debut, an audaciously loud album loaded with dirty riffs, oozing grunge from every pore and crackling with an electrifying fuzz primed to set your hair on end.”
Indeed !! Let’s jump into the fractious fray then, shall we?
The False Advertising triumvirate, initially a duo made up of vocalist/guitarist Jen Hingley, and, drummer/vocalist Chris Warr, completed their line up last year, with the addition of bassist Josh Sellers, who was brought in to complete the rhythm section. A symbiotic relationship has, over time, developed between Hingley and Warr, the synergy of which has led to their producing a batch of articulate, clever, well crafted songs, to which Sellers has been let loose to add some seriously rumbling basslines.
The result of a prolonged series of rehearsals, demos and some serious studio time, False Advertising’s long-awaited, debut album has been a year in the making. It’s a feisty, bludgeoning affair, splattered with kick ass gibes, and scorn dripping vocals, saturated with disillusionment and ennui.
“Caught in your city of knocks I’m not going to need to survive”
Vocalist Jen Hingley is a strong, clear singer with a wide reach, whose delivery laudably holds its own, both above, and beyond, the noise. The tracks that particularly best showcase her vocal ability are the more restrained, pared back All of the Above, and the brash, but less rackety Wasted Away. Her voice, a cross between PJ Harvey and Mia Zapata, with a nod to Frischmann, is as defiant as it is disaffected. Interestingly, False Advertising share lead vocal and drumming duties: just as well then that Hingley’s unadorned vocals, synch perfectly with Warr’s more melodic, colourful delivery; they are a pretty consummate, and very complementary, vocal pairing.
It is however, the rhythm section, that takes centre stage on the albums muscular opener, Breaker. Boney drums and a moody broody bassline, make up the backbone to this track, underpinning arrogant, accusatory, guitar sequences. While the vocal in the verse is staggered, and disaffectedly monophonic, the chorus is nicely toasted with the addition of Warr’s spicier timbre. Breaker is FA at their most Nirvana like, (let’s face it – there was always going to be one allusion!), and is a bloody good opener that sets the tone for the album that follows.
Second in, Another Mention. is a raw, gritty track. A stew of interesting ingredients, it combines a melee of sounds with a medley of vocal arrangements; warped, languid guitar, clipped drumming and some zombie-like special effects are on the menu, making this a pretty tasty precursor to the entrée.
Wasted Away is leaning towards a more radio friendly sound, and, as I already mentioned, is a good advertisement for Hingley’s vocal abilities. Next up is the crackingly good Dozer; the first single to be taken from the album, released 24/Aug. A blitzkrieg of crashing percussion, snarling lead guitar, contemptuous vocal and a scornfully snide bass, it’s one of the slickest productions on the album, and, one in which False Advertising manifest their hard earned, well honed musical skills. The influences, which must have seeped in by silent osmosis, during their time working alongside the likes of Royal Blood and The Clash, become more evident the further we journey into this musical fray. Very few emerging bands, have either worked at that level of tier one creativity, or, garnered the pre-requisite technical nous, to be able to produce an album as poised and cohesive as this.
Next up – I Don’t Know. Well, I do, and I wrote about it before, so you know the story. Cue – video!
Don’t you just love the line, “Your joke’s on me, my eyes on you, I’ll have to sink down to your level”. It’s so aridly droll, it makes me laugh each time I hear it. False Advertising do DO random deprecating humour!
Eleven tracks in total, make up this self-titled debut. All of the Above is almost a ballad, albeit one with a Seattlean demeanour. The uncompromising Cold Shoulder sees Warr going all Brandon Flowers in a melodic mush of woozy guitars and thumping backbeat, and what’s more, I’m beginning to hear traces of Green Day. In every aspect, this is one of the strongest tracks on the album, and a possible front runner for a future single.
No Good’s old style rock and Only Way’s hypnotic drum sequences and zigzagging strings, lead us into the penultimate track, the railing against the expected, Finish Line, which of course one would have expected to wrap up the album (the clue is in the name). A quirky, nervy affair, the harmony is redolent of a familiar voice, that frustratingly to which, I can’t put a name. The album closes with undoubtedly my favourite track, the last but definitely not least, Something Better. It contains some classically good guitar playing, and raw grazed-skin lyrics, superbly conveyed with a strong but smooth vocal finish: all shored up by a tight RS at the helm.
False Advertising have produced a corker of a debut album, worthy of investment. They are a band that most definitely seem to have a bright future ahead of them. This debut LP is top notch stuff, containing some seriously good instrumentation, with well timed, firmly delivered vocals, underpinned by a well oiled, tightly knit RS. And for someone whose main musical bent is either towards fluffy and dreamy, or jazzy and sassy, this has been one gigantic personal turn-around and, the second time False Advertising have managed to convince this punter that their music is a sound worth listening to. 8/10
The album False Advertising goes on sale Friday 4th September and can be pre-ordered now via Bandcamp.
A short promo tour kicks off with some live dates in Manchester, with more gigs across England to be confirmed:
Manchester 19TH SEP – Academy 3,
Manchester 21ST NOV – Deaf Institute, Manchester