Debut records are of course massively important for a band to establish themselves, meaning that they are often labored over for months or even years as they attempt to perfect their introductory work. Yet, for Crewe rockers Blitz Kids, knocking out their first album completely live in just 48 hours has proved just as effective as any lengthy period studio magic could muster.
‘Vagrants & Vagabonds’ is a gritty and urgent release. The songs themselves, whilst containing more than enough melody and massive hooks, are driven along at a ferocious pace, with lead single ‘Hold Fast’ being a primary example of this. Starting off with a delightfully quirky guitar riff, the track soon breaks out into some piercing chord work and forceful percussion (the outro is particularly violent). Yet, like most of the songs here, it is all held together by a soaring chorus, a facet of the album which displays tremendously the vast talents of vocalist Joe James. The singing, whilst far from technically perfect, is delivered with such swagger and snarl, yet, at the same time with a pleasant and towering tone to his voice, which means that it is hard not to be impressed and stirred by his performance. Look no further than the light and shade of ‘Story’ (which features a fantastic appearance by Kids In Glass Houses, frontman Aled Phillips) as evidence of James‘ rousing delivery.
It’s more than likely the nature of the album’s recording that gives it such a pressing atmosphere. The rapid studio process is mirrored in the pace of the songs, which seem to rattle along very quickly. Not that this proves detrimental to the album at all, in fact quite the contrary, as the pace, even in relatively restrained songs such as the super catchy ‘Photograph’, gives the release a consised, exciting edge, maintaining the bite and enthusiasm that can so easily be lost as a full-length plays out.
Blitz Kids have shown themselves as somewhat unique on ‘Vagrants & Vagabonds’. Refreshingly abandoning the reliance on endless rearrangements, auto-tune and the cut and paste nature of most song writing today, the band have simply displayed to us that, as with any outfit worth their salt, the material does more than enough to speak for itself. An impressive debut.
Written by Tony Bliss