This is a review of "Set Them On Fire" recorded by Back Page First. The review was written by Tim Hoadley in 2011.
'Back Page First' are a duo hailing from the city of Bradford. Birthplace of Terrorvision, One Minute Silence and New Model Army.
Expect something a damn sight more cultured and mature when you listen to BPF's 'Set them on Fire'. This album is a remarkably accomplished, self-produced effort by what is clearly an extremely talented couple of musicians.
This is not an album that is going to set your world on fire on the first listen. This is a slow burner, and one that you will only start to fully appreciate after your 3rd or 4th listen. But trust me it is worth persevering with, because these songs have a depth and quality that will stay with you for much longer after that.
Rich Scott's vocals almost flick song to song from the guttural blues of 'Imaginary Revolution' to smooth as silk confidence in 'Let the Day Be Over.' At the same time the sublime layer upon layer of instruments sewn together by David Zdanowich lure you in on every track and somehow manage to complement whatever it is that you are doing whilst listening to it.
There is a harmonious, welcoming melody to all of the tracks on this album completely brought to life by intelligent lyrics and more than proficient song writing. This is the first demo in a long time that genuinely shows a band's confidence in their abilities.
'Set Them on Fire' nods its head to, but doesn't rely on its creators' influences; it sits quite comfortably waiting for you to discover it. It doesn't attempt to molest you with an offensive or gratuitous cover, it doesn't force feed you a political message or attempt to make you feel guilty for sustaining a comfortable lifestyle whilst others suffer. What 'Set Them on Fire' knows though is that when you do discover it, you'll begin to adore it for what it is. It knows that you'll search for the band on Facebook to see pictures of the people who created the songs, that for a reason you can't quite put your finger on, you've been humming for the last few days on the way into work. (By the way you will be disappointed because all that lurks in the photo section of their page are logos promoting their band). Perhaps though this is entirely their point. Let the music do the talking. No gimmicks, no flashing lights, just thoroughly absorbing, satisfying songs that you wish you wrote and could sing yourself.
This is an album your collection needs, to remind itself that there is still credible, solid songwriters producing music in the UK.