Poets Corner the lead-track on the new release from Case Hardin is unusual for an album opener, clocking in at over eight minutes it’s a slow builder and a brave move, but the song craft of the bands frontman Pete Gow is such that the anthemic track (named for a local landmark in Acton West London) builds into a bold stylistic statement of intent for the album Colours Simple, a recording which sees the band move consciously to a fuller and more guitar-centric sound – at the centre of which is guitar slinger Jim Maving, backed by the rhythm section of Tim Emery (bass & mandolin) and Andy Bastow (drums).
There’s more to Colours Simple than the epic opener though up next is Three Cities that sees Gow turn a late night bar stool conversation with a prostitute about the merits of Phil Spector as a record producer
into one of the albums highlights, embellished with the keyboard skills of longtime collaborator Mike Wesson it’s a slow burner. Rock ‘n’ roll returns for tracks three and four with the rollicking Roll Damnation Roll and the barroom blast of (Jesus Christ Tomorrow Morning) Do I Still Feel This Way which cede to one of albums quieter and reflective tracks Fiction Writer.
Recorded in North London at Chris Clarke’s Reservoir Studios the next track see the band getting a groove on and breaking out the brass courtesy of the Reservoir Dogs brass section – Robin & Joe Bennett (Dreaming Spires), Geoff Widdowson (Danny And The Champions Of The World).
Up next is a foot tapper from the other-side of the tracks The Streets Where the Bars Are (the Bars Where the Girls Will Be) is sure to be a live favourite with it’s dual twang and piano rhythm ‘n’ roll, all change for the next one which features a guest performance, from former band member Hana Piranha, who joins Pete Gow on vocals, another of the albums quieter moments, High Rollers tells the forlorn story of a young woman making ends meet with two jobs; By day she works in a massage parlour frequented by ‘overweight business men with hard- on’s and body odour’ and at night is a croupier at an equally low end Casino where she can ‘do whatever I like with these desks, they don’t even try to take their eyes off of my chest’ . Hana also plays fiddle on the albums penultimate track A Mention In Dispatches which ponders ruefully a life lived in the public eye, the album closes with Another Toytown Morning, an acoustic ruminative on a life of wrong turns.
‘An airless room and a bottle of wine / A turntable and some old Patsy Cline / Open up these scars / With pedal steel guitars / Lost to the lonesome and high’.
Available now from Clubhouse Records and on lovely vinyl too.
“(Jesus Christ Tomorrow Morning) Do I Still Feel This Way” from Colours Simple by Case Hardin.