Vocalist Jolli Holli represents the sonic factor that stands out most when first listening to Lancashire Lads. He has a passionate singing style that brings Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry to mind, particularly because of his voice’s strong vibrato. This four-song EP offers up plenty of sonic variety, which means Lancashire Lads can be one of many different bands at any given moment.
“Today Is the Day” is this recorded work’s happiest, most upbeat track. It features a jangling guitar intro, and is accented by a blaring horn part. Lyrically, you could call this Lancashire Lad’s Carpe Diem moment, as it finds the group setting out to seize the day and make the best of it all. The band describes this song as, today is the day; now is the time. Indeed, there is no time like the present to make the best things in life happen. The group’s biography states it best by calling the song “a euphoric celebration of life. Brassy, bold, happening.” It’s the kind of song that makes you get up out of bed, take a quick, invigorating shower and bolt out the door to face whatever life has to offer.
You can hear a little U2 in the track “Port Patrick,” due to its stinging electric guitar line, which hearkens back to U2’s early days as an emerging new wave rock act. However, once the track gets past its intro, it transforms into much more of a swinging, jazzy song.
With “The Rain,” Lancashire Lads turn to something more traditional, more folk-y. It features a gentle rhythm, along with prominent fiddle – both in the intro and throughout. The song’s lyric celebrates the joys of love, romance and living.
Lancashire Lads also reveal a jazzy side on “History,” where Holli sings about the unpredictability of love. It switches between a light guitar-accented part on the verses, and then goes into a trumpet-highlighted chorus. At its swinging-ist, this song sounds a little like Style Council, back in the 80s.
The lasting impression left by this brief musical sampling is that of a group with the intelligence and creativity to create a wide variety of musical sounds. It has a bit of an exotic quality to it – which may be largely due to Holli’s singing style – that sets it apart from being just another pop band.
Also, there’s nothing at all urban about Lancashire Lad’s sound. It seems as though rap and hip hop have infiltrated almost every style of music out there. If not rap, than R&B. When Rihanna recorded with Coldplay recently, you may have asked yourself, ‘Has no act remained untouched?’ This is not, of course, to suggest that any of these infiltrating sounds are bad; it’s just to point out their omnipresence, instead. However, when you listen to these four songs, you’d likely wonder if the overwhelming dance culture ever even existed.
There is a poetic vibe to Holli’s lyrics that escalate these songs into something more than generalized pop songs. He has a wider scope than much of the music-making world that makes his songwriting so attractive.
As with all EPs, the verdict on it rests upon whether one would like to hear more from the band after listening to it, or less. Clearly, Lancashire Lads is a band one would dearly love to hear more from. Chances are good that a Lancashire Lads full-length would contain the same amount of sonic variety as is displayed on this four song EP. That’s something truly to look forward to.
This EP is recommended to anyone that may have grown tired of always hearing electronic dance elements and hip hop applied to nearly every song under the sun. Sometimes you just need something a little more natural and organic, and you’ll get that from Lancashire Lads.
Artist: Lancashire Lads
Album: Lancashire Lads EP
Review By: Dan MacIntosh
Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)