By Million Dead
Million Dead are f**king awesome. No. Seriously. Folks. They really are. If 2003's debut effort 'A Song To Ruin' passed you by somewhat, firstly you are indeed a foolish human being and secondly, this, album number two, if you give it half a chance, will suck you in and spit you out believing THIS is something special and Million Dead are one of, if not the, best band in Britain right now.
Seemingly a lot has changed since the aforementioned album's release. Absolute relentless touring seeing the band circuit the toilets and slightly better toilets of the UK rock scene has seen the whole band hone their playing skills and musical maturity to a large degree, there's been a switch of guitar duties, Cameron Dean out - Tom Fowler in (a noticeable impact upon the record) and vocalist/genius Frank Turner expanding his vocabulary even further and forming lyrics simply breathtaking in their depth, complexity and poignancy. 'Harmony No Harmony' is what 'A Song To Ruin' promised to be and so so so much more.
The inevitable comparisons then, drastic is a word that springs to mind, a complete overhaul of the feel of the record has turned 'Harmony No Harmony' into a whole different beast all together and is better for it. Whereas the 10 tracks of 'A Song To Ruin' meant every track needed to be of the highest quality, the ambitious 14 track hour-long follow up has space to spread its wings and take you on more of a journey than a collection of songs, not in an irritatingly pretentious knob twiddling Mars Volta fashion, but just delivering a sense of completeness and smoothness of transition from one song to the next. The tracklisting is perfectly executed. The tempo lulls nowhere, if anything the album builds and builds towards the perfect climax of the title track. Each song has obviously been meticulously and lovingly crafted to pull them to maximum of their respective potentials. It's a feeling the odd soulless major label band could only dream of.
One of the most striking characteristics that hit me the most abruptly was that the first run through didn't impress me as much as expected. The obvious initial highlights of top 60 smash hit 'Living The Dream', the bizarrely titled opener 'Bread And Circuses' and choir infused 'Father, My Father' shine through but were interspersed with songs that fail to hit home. However I guarantee you, you'll get the feeling, as I did, one play, it may not be this time, it may not be the next but one by one you'll fall under the charm of every single track.
The schizophrenic slams through 'Plan B' & 'BSE', the almost poppy 'Achilles Lung' and 'After The Rush Hour'. The much publicised choir on 'To Whom It May Concern' (I defy you not to laugh at the crooning of the word "f**k", think a demented Polyphonic Spree with tourettes syndrome) and the swirling majesty of the slower moments 'Margot Kidder' and 'Engine Driver'. Without a hint of an exaggeration. Every song - incredible.
It's on title track 'Harmony No Harmony' where the penny drops. A charmingly fuzzily produced Frank Turner acoustic number showcasing why this man has the potential to become one of his generations most admired lyricalists. It's no understatement when I say these lyrics, which flood the whole album, would not be out of place in Dylan or Morrissey's poetry books.
Its time for Million Dead to go colossal. They've done the hard work, now it's the masses turn. The more people listen to this album, the more automatic converts. Million Dead have the talent and desire to develop into the stuff of legends, 'Harmony No Harmony' has the potential to become an absolute classic. If this becomes criminally ignored, it will be an unadulterated catastrophe for the British rock community. No. Seriously. Folks. Million Dead are really f**king awesome.