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4mornings by Four Stroke

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Reviewed on 26th January 2004.



By Four Stroke

4mornings is an ambitious project. Each of four songs is led in by a sound montage of one of the band member's morning. Ordinary key jangling, car doors, bus fares and taxi radios are spliced in for thirty seconds or so, forcing the listener to re-concentrate each time. There's an additional song on the lead out and the artwork is all much more elaborate than the usual self-made demo. The songs themselves are well-made and intense. It all stands up and demands very serious attention.

"Influence and Effect" is all about personal vs political power. It has a mighty rasping guitar and a big rock drumming momentum to it. There are loads of yeahs and aahhs and it gives the listener plenty to get worked up about. In an incoherently emotional (and therefore satisfying) sort of a way.

"Move Just Once More" recycles the rasping guitar in double quick time and shoots off with loads of energy. An emotionally desperate song in half the tempo kind of reins-in the furious start, but it does do a pretty convincing job as a reworking of the classic 1980s Big Rock Thing. The lyrics are on the vague side, but I guess the video producer could just about justify a bikini-clad airhead playing beach volleyball, while out hero drools in the pool nearby.

"Gameshow" continues the pattern. Sean Gledhill's crisply-struck guitar sets off in the lead, with his power chords ringing and distorting like a pro. Phil Kenyon pours out the vocal anguish about some kind of bimbo challenge and Jonathan Poole does some massive drumming while Chris Wilson does the necessarily tight underpinning on very sound and unfussy bass.

"Falling Down" takes a different tack, nudging in gently with some shifting guitar chords and taking a more tuneful and psychologically convincing approach. The rock action picks up soon enough though, and we get big choruses of full-on band, and the massive-venue lighting rig whirls around to catch the audience all arms-aloft and demented.

To be honest I'm not completely convinced. This is a heart-felt full-size model of something we've all heard and loved. But maybe its time has gone. The Darkness or the Datsuns can do some clever things with the fragments of whatever it once was. The Originals can come back and do reunion tours. But starting from 2004, this skilfully-played honestly-crafted stuff is a labour of love that communicates more with Four Strokes' own sense of excitement and passion than it does with a contemporary audience. See and hear me proved brilliantly wrong at the Vine on February 3rd. Demand to be sold the CD - it is a very ownable item, with a very classic Groucho Marx quote on the cover. I won't spoil your enjoyment by telling you what it is.



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