Alfie - Do You Imagine Things?
"Do You Imagine Things?", the first album Alfie have released which has not been tarnished by record company wrangles or simply the budget to do the guys justice. Now on Regal Recordings following the much publicized bust up with Twisted Nerve, Lee Gorton and co have finally delivered on what we saw on those stripped back early gigs at Castlefield arena. It seems strange that a band that showed so much promise ended up meandering and losing the plot so early on, but at least in Alfie's case they've got that over and done with now before their major label debut.
Over the years Alfie have learnt the basics in the studio and it's only now that they've had the chance to use them. Self produced with help from Ken Nelson it sees the band concentrating on writing quality songs while still maintaining that experimental edge. While previously it was easy to knock Gorton for not giving a damn about his vocals and often gigs would see him almost horizontal, it seems that this album he's finally pushed himself to the limits and the use of harmonies on tracks such as "People" and "No Need" show Gorton's vocals off like never before. The latter sounding like the Boo Radley's "Wake Up" era with subtle horn flourished building over a chugging insistent guitar track and psychedelic soul breakdown. Other tracks are self-consciously darker such as "My Blood Smells Like Thunderstorms", all stark guitar riffs leading up to the music hall outro. "Isobel" sounds like one of those classic Simon & Garfunkel numbers and deserves to be a classic in it's own right, but I feel that sadly it remain a hidden gem for the select few Alfie fans in existence. "Chop Chop" on the other hand sets to be Alfie's biggest hit to date purely for the fact it sounds like Mr Blue Sky revamped for the noughties.
With expectations low following 2 disappointing albums we weren't expecting a great deal from "Do You Imagine Things?", but sure enough they've pulled out all the stops and surprised us all. This is good, but you still know there's better to come from the Alfie camp.
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