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Thursday, 13 September 2012

Record Review - The Ace

Next Time Around
self-released CD

This Leeds trio have this rather smart debut album to offer us, with a clean dozen tracks of effervescent power-pop meets West Coast 60s garage. There is the Moon-esque pummeling of the drums, the heavy riffing of a master, and some hyperventilating vocals..in other words, something for every rock’n’roll fan whose pulse can raise itself when needed.

They play a strange hand, these lads. The opening trio of songs here are the least appealing, falling into that easy trap of making upbeat but indistinguishable, forgettable, and cliched retro pop. Great live no doubt, but less great on record. Yet what follows is a delight. We get on the title track some frenetic, Joe Meek freakbeat echoed sounds that also recalls XTC-style new wave. Funky riffage a la Jon Spencer and The Black Keys makes a welcome appearance on blues rocker ‘Loose Cannon Woman’ that really should get a proper single release IMHO.

Then there’s the John’s Children-inspired beat of ‘Waiting For My Baby’, the punk chops of ‘Hard Graft’, the scorching psych rock of ‘Alone’ (with some nifty excellent fuzz lead guitar), and the acid punk sci-fi (with added theremin) on unhinged closer ‘Attack Of The Mosquitoes’. There’s even a satisfying extra emotional layer The Ace reveal on the tumultuous, tremelo-ing ‘Shipwrecked’.

This album will appeal to the 80s ex-mods, to fans of the post-Prisoners flood of well-crafted Hammond-drenched classic rock, and well, to all good Shindig-verse music fans in general.

Phil Istine

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