By Saving Lenny
On receiving a lovely 7" sized plastic sleeve I eagerly anticipated the smooth black vinyl slipping out into my hand. I was disappointed to discover it was merely a cunning design and into my palm popped a standard size CD and a huge Saving Lenny Poster cum inlay sleeve.
My disappointment was quickly overcome by the spunky opening drums, which are shortly followed by the delightful voice of Katie Harkin. I understand that this young lady still has a couple of teenage years to come but her voice belies her youth. She clearly has natural talent but more importantly - and where so many singers fail - she knows how to use it. Opening up into the chorus of 'Over The Top', whilst the saxophones of Tim and Phil punctuate the dirty guitar riffage of Mike and Katie, it lifts the song up after a crescendo has already teased us once into preparing to bounce. The drums do falter slightly as the beat changes at one point but on the whole the band are slick and create plenty of space for each other to drift in and out of.
'My Own Way' opens with a cool opening that would have you funk soul brothers out there nodding in anticipation. In comes the runaway train drumbeat dragging us a long down the punk pop highway. The sax interludes between vocal lines are great and lift Saving Lenny high above the many ska bands that litter their music with horns. In fact I wouldn't like to label these guys as Ska at all. More just Cool Punk-Pop.
"Her kisses will make you bleed... don't try to impress her baby cos you'll end up getting burned". Ah the evils of women! Another accomplished tune that stutters along before the rollercoaster kicks in again and you want to stand up and bounce around. Perfect evidence too that guitar solos don't have to be a million miles an hour to be great. They just have to fit, and this one does perfectly.
Now I'm a fan of lyrics. I like to hear something clever, touching, heartfelt or something that simply makes you ache with joy. On the other hand you can't help but love certain lyrics that should be shit but somehow just aren't. "Fizzy pop, fizzy pop, I like drinking fizzy pop - oh lemonade!" Doesn't look much written down huh? But after the first three tracks have put you in a happy smiley mood this cheery little number with guitar and sax hooks aplenty over the funky bass line you simply have to love the way they are delivered to you here. This is where we get to really hear Miss Harkin stretch her voice with overdubbed backing vocals. She conquers the task of repeatedly singing "Oh Lemonade!" with ease, delivering it with passion and a conviction that mean the cringes that you should experience are locked safely outside in the cold winter whilst this sprightly tune warms you. "Something cool and sweet and to quench my thirst, don't bring me cola that would just be the worst, something cool and sweet, think that something is you, bring me lemonade and we'll see what I can do", the last line delivered with a class and sexiness that make Harkin stand out above many singers, male and female, plying their trade around the stages of Leeds. The following "I got bubbles in my nose, I could spill it down my clothes" will ensure a queue at the soft drinks pump next time Miss Harkin is at the bar. There's some great female talent within the local music scene at present and with this talented bunch of chaps behind her Katie Harkin is right at the top of the pile.
The band are giving this CD away free and you would be foolish to pass up the chance of picking one up. The songs could still be stronger as whole pieces but there are moments of class in each and every one and they are very chirpy and bright enough to warrant your attention.