12 February 2014

Hurricane #1 - Hurricane #1

Now I do have a little story about the first time I have I feel across Hurricane #1.  In 1997 I went to see 3 Colours Red at the legendary venue called The Riverside in Newcastle.  Hurricane #1 were the support band for the night, this is one of the worst touring parings since Shed Seven supported Aerosmith on an arena tour; the main reason for the mutual tour was that they were both on the Creation Record label (home to Oasis, My Bloody Valentine, Ride and others).  Now when they first came out they were just ignored and towards the end most of the crowd was at the bar.  However, I was entertained by them to be honest.  Sure, they were not the best band to support a great punk-esque band, but it did make me want to hear more of their stuff.  So I have always been looking out for the album, but whilst I have owned a few copies, I have only ever really listened to one song off it.  But a few nights ago I was listening to an online radio station and they came on, which bring me to this point here and the review you are about to read.

The band came together in 1996 after the breakup of Ride being formed by Andy Bell (before he left them high and dry to join Gay Dad and then Oasis); it also featured Alex Lowe on vocals & guitars, Will Pepper on bass and Gareth Farmer on drums.  Musically from the get go you will know what you are going to get from this band, it is very middle of the road indie from the mid-90's, there will no surprises and some really easy going solos and tune, you are not going to get a blast beat a-la Napalm Death or tales of teabag like you would get in a Softcell song.  

Starting off with "Just Another Illusion" starts off with a light bit of keyboard, a funky bass line and a wah-wah guitar pattern that would not sound out of place in a 70's cop show.  Lyrically it is a little bland, but it is not too bad a song, not amazing by any means but it is alright.  The solo over the end of the tune is as good as you would expect from 90's indie of the time.  Following on is "Faces In A Dream" which starts off with a full organ at the beginning; however from that point in I had to check I was listening to a different song as it sounds pretty much identical to their first song.  Chase the word wah-wah for organ and it is same song.  The next song though is slightly different and was the song which ended their set when I saw them all those years ago - "Step Into My World".  It is probably the best indie song that Oasis never ripped off, from beginning to end it is one of the best missing gems from the 90's.  Even as a strange metal fan at the time I could appreciate this one, it is just wonderful and one of the band's strongest cards and has a solo that would not sound out of place on any rock legends album.  What worries me though is that it is the third track on this album....

"Mother Superior" is next and could have easily been taken from one of the first few Cast albums.  It is a story about love and has religious imagery.  Heard it played in different forms by bands many times before, heard it played better (and worse) than this and it just makes me drift in and out.  I would be hard pushed to find a nice thing to say about it, but same can be said for saying anything bad about it as well, apart from the last few minutes of loop back and noise - annoying on an indie album and on this one very much so.  "Let Go Of The Dream" is a strange number, with a nod towards the Beatles via the Oasis handwritten method it is a lot better than "Mother Superior".  Not exactly rocket science or ground breaking, yet it is pleasant enough and is one of the few tracks which ends a little too early.  However "Chain Reaction" is much funkier that what has went on before.  It is basically just one big solo with some vocals on the top of it, it is much better than quite a lot of this album and maybe would have been a good direction for them.  "Lucky Man" is next and has such a strong Bluetones vibe that I had to check I had not accidently put on their album by mistake.  Yet it sort of falls apart once it gets to the vocals which is a shame as it held a bit of promise.

"Strange Meeting" is next and whilst being slightly bland it is another strong number for the album.  Even by the standards of the 90's it sounds bland and dated, but it is not played badly and there is a hell of a lot worse out there now being pushed as good. Coming on next is "Monday Afternoon" which is your average acoustic number from the 90's indie band with a string section. At least it is brief and to the point, not the best thing ever.  Which is more than can be said for the closing track - "Stand In Line".  This was obviously trying to be their version of "I Am The Walrus" or "Supersonic", it turns out to be neither of these tracks.  What this track is to be honest is a band being a little bit too ambitious for their talents.  Having goals, aims and ambition is a good thing in a band, knowing when a certain type of song is well past your collective talent is something that should be instilled into every band from the word go.  

It is such a shame in a way that the last song is just so bad as it brings the mood of a painfully average album down to the ground with a sudden crash.  Up till the end it was never gonna get a brilliant mark if we are honest, "Step Into My World" is by far and above their best song and it is a strange moment on the album that can actually be described as workman like.  But that last song just shows that they were trying to be the best of 90's indie plus a huge chuck of Beatles stealing and it truly failed as their ambitions were bigger than their god given talents.  They went for the wrong direction and I'm actually surprised that they made it to a second album.  Know your weight people and make sure you can match your ambition before trying to make the next Beatles record.  Still love "Step Into My World" and quite a lot of these marks are for that song alone.

5 out of ten - It could have been a bit better

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

Now there is no Hurricane #1 website as they are long gone, but here is an interview with the singer from the Creation website

Here is a link to the album on Deezer

Or if you like Spotify, here is the link to the album on there

Here is "Step Into My World" as performed on TFI Friday by in the day.

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