Manchester Music: The Routes "Alligator"
I remember back in those heady days of Britpop that all these wee bands were making it big in Japan. It seemed to be the badge of the “not quite made it” in the UK... “Yeah, well we’re big in Japan.” While they were going ape-shit over in the Land of the Rising Sun for everything British, no one over here really seemed to be bothered about anything coming out of there and little really seems to have changed, despite some glorious rock n roll being made over the last decade and a half (think Thee Michelle Gun Elephant, Guitar Wolf, The Mad 3). Well, all that's about to change.
Welcome, The Routes.
This is pure garage at its very best, drawing on that old fuzzed out Nuggets sound throughout, it seems the British Invasion sounds are still going strong and making their way around the globe. Opener, and current single, Do What’s Right By You, showcases that “now here comes the key change and then back to the blues scale” motif of all the classic garage acts with such aplomb that you wish you could grow that mop-top just to be able to shake it along with the groove. Album highlight, A Love Like Mine, drops fairly early on with its Cynicsesque, short sharp declarations of broken loves over a rhythm section that can only be described as tighter than a gnat’s ass. Sinchan’s Number provides the instrumental break half way through as the band wig out and the audience (no doubt at their incendiary live shows) jive along, while title track, Alligator, brings to the fore the classic farfisa organ to great effect, especially over the more spacious bridges before the album continues on the same lines, closing with the riotous Go Away.
You could easily argue that production values are set to minimum on this album, but that only serves to highlight the simplicity and catchiness of the tunes on offer. 2011 seems set to be a great year for garage bands with forthcoming releases from stalwarts The Cynics and The Fleshtones, but The Routes have a classic album on their hands here, one that should propel them thrashing and wailing into your record collection.