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OFFICER KICKS Citywide Curfew We Make Things (2010)

Officer Kicks

If there was a prize for album of the month this would be it. 'Citywide Curfew' by the curiously named Officer Kicks is a great rock and roll album, crammed full of hard hitting songs played with real passion and no little musical ability. And just when you think its all relentless mix of big sound, tough chords and raging riffs they cool things at the end with a surprising restrained finish. It's the kind of surprising but hugely effective outro from a band who seem to know they are on the upward curve of the wave of success.

In many respects OK is the kind of band that can cross generations - think the early career energy of the Police, lashing of guitar overdrive , the stadium sound of U2 and by the end the rootsy feel of Kings of Leon they deal in rip straight to the jugular songs and powerhouse riffs. On top of that there's the magnificent vocals of Jamie Scallion who is not averse to poaching the occasional Liam Gallagher sneer. But then again why wouldn't he, as this is a band that is the musical equivalent of a transformer, turning some recognisable musical influences into something all of their own making.

With a shit kicking single like 'Automatic' the Punky feel of 'Tom Thumb' and the staccato riffs, crashing cymbals and imposing organ sound of the title track, OK has all the tenets of a classic rock & roll outfit. Hell, they even nick the old Dave Edmunds wall of sound on the opening 'Murderland' and occasionally revisit the trademark chiming guitars of The Edge, but even these occasional derivative influences are but the pieces of a bigger jigsaw.

Songs like the repeated vocal lines and searing melody line of the bone crunching 'The Kraken' have a spine tingling vitality and you suspect that much of the material on this their second album is the glorious result of learning their trade on a busy live circuit.

And on the evidence of 'City Wide Curfew' when the opportunity has come knocking at their door, they already the songs, musical ability and personality to deliver

And deliver is exactly what Officer Kicks do, for this is rock and roll for 2010 and beyond. But as adding a very late heavy duty musical footnote to their album, they close with a brace of songs of real substance with 'Mrs Anderson' neatly predicated on a mesmerising repeated guitar line as part of a clever arrangement that finds room for a some judiciously placed strings. This segues unobtrusively into the closing love song 'White Heat' which is an emotionally red raw love song neatly encapsulated by the line 'white burning heat for her'.

It's the perfect finale to a great album and is surely destined to become a band anthem.

'City Wide Curfew' is a cracker of an album cracker from a Deptford band that don't need to ride on the 'Deptford is sexy' bandwagon, as their scorching brand of rock & roll is an international language that looks set to launch them to an equally big crossover audience.

*****

Review by Pete Feenstra

 


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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