The Needles - In Search Of The Needles

Rasping rock with rhythm, lyrical bite and a swirling keyboard element sees the sinister, turning life upside down opener, ‘Let You Down’ and the murkily catchy ‘Under The City’, transporting you to a dingy underground venue and the year is 1975. Before we are brought forward in time for The Cribs and Supergrass skirting ‘Girl I Used To Know’, seeing Dave Dixon’s vocals taking on a calming, yet grittily authoritative pitch. Already it is impossible not to be tempted to put this foray into the category of one of the freshest and most sincere albums of the year so far. It is a debut album to boot, helping to render the disappointment of Razorlight’s recent lack of adventure, as distant a memory as England’s World Cup campaign.

A sound similar to Kiss crashing a Ramones gig gushes through first portion of the album that utilises the full, spindling bass virtuosity of  Paul Curtiss, most noticeably propelling the provocative ‘Devil At Your Door’ and the pleading previous single ‘Dianne’, with the latter mentioned instrumentally applauding Muse. Feeling and emotion are never far away from a The Needles song, giving them a genuine and emotive edge. The Aberdeen quartet finds the time to put a loving arm around The Byrds and The Stands by embracing the country rock genre with the album highlight, the lyrically cutting, instrumentally winding and roving ‘Poison Ivy’. This signals a change in pace in the album, as pop craftsmanship is deployed to slow the journey down via ‘Up Against The Wall’.

The inter-song cohesion that is displayed without exception illuminates a band of true understanding and the fact that they have been together since the late 1990’s, has evidently facilitated this understanding, rather than straining the relations as oft happens with bands battling that are through. The big sounding ‘Delivery Day’ possesses that hounding, combined vocal approach that represented The Coral at their most potent. The slow ballad of ‘In The Morning’ provides for a reflective and tingling conclusion, something that is quite fitting, as in years to come The Needles will reflect on this debut with pride and fulfilment.

David Adair

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