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Friday, 3 June 2011

Leatherface - The Stormy Petrel LP 2010

It's seems strange that even though Leatherface made three truly great albums in the late 80's and early 90's, that I never got round to buying any of their later offerings. Cherry Knowle, Fill Your Boots and Mush are held in such high regard that perhaps I feared that an reduction in quality would tarnish the legend in some way, or maybe I just moved on a bit musically.

Anyway, twenty years on and I'm holding a copy of the Stormy Petrel with something like religious reverence. Surprisingly for a band who have taken a long break, it doesn't disapoint. It's tangibly different from the old, high octane rush, but that's probably because Frankie and the boys are now middle aged men. But that's not to say it's not high quality stuff. This is more northern folk rock album than its hardcore ancestors, with the emphasis on the interplay between the guitars and Frankie's voice and lyrics.

The standard of songwriting is consistently brilliant with no suspect tracks and a host of hooks and memorable moments. On 'My World's End' Frankie croons about the inherent dangers of expensive ice-cream consumption, 'Diego Garcia' is as political as it is catchy and 'Nutcase' is a hell for leather throwback to Fill Your Boots. The standout track however is 'Never Say Goodbye'; a good old fashioned stormer with Frankie getting all philosophical about lost love.

It's not the Leatherface sound of the early days, but in some ways it's more relevant and current than most of the bands in the 21st Century. Just as aging footballers may lose a yard or two of pace but never lose their quality, similarly Leatherface continue to produce quality music despite the decline in tempo.


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