Bopping Up Alfred’s Tower; A New Chippenham Band Stronghold

See, I’m not sure ol’ Alfred the Great would’ve approved of the whopping gurt folly erected in his name near Bruton. He was there to rally Saxon troops for the Battle of Edington, and if you’re planning to go kick some Viking butt you need to be inconspicuous, not have a hundred-and-sixty-foot redbrick tower sticking out like a sore thumb. He might well have liked this though, a new Wiltshire four-piece named after the tower; because good tunes can be a real morale boost when going into battle……

And good tunes they are, though the group cite from Chippenham on their Bandcamp page, substantial mileage from the Stourhead estate where Alfred’s Tower is situated. Perhaps it’s the connotations of Alfred being the founder of English liberty, as these four tracks they sent us have a Brit “mod” tinge, and mods are patriotic at best. I didn’t like to ask, through fear of coming across all history teacher, and I’m all out of leather elbow patches for my Tweed jacket. The important part is there’s some beguiling original songs on offer here, uplifting in a manner Paul Weller, at his most optimistic.

Parachute Baby is a prime example, it’s sauntering along on the sunny side of the street of a crazy world, where only the attention of the object of his desires matters to this character, and it’s got that apt harmonica riff to lighten the darkest of moods. Though, if it’s got it, Roy Orbison style, switching to the next tune, Nothing Good and we’re foot-tapping on an offbeat, bouncy one-drop reggae melody, which counteracts the more dejected romantic theme; I’m smitten.

Though we’re getting ahead of ourselves now, for these two tracks are forthcoming, the first one out around Christmas time and the latter in the new year, but their Bandcamp page has two other songs equally worthy of your attention. This World is their inaugural release, and while uplifting too, it’s tender and mellowed. With a soulful piano intro, it’s certainly anthemic, with an allowance to note the astute writing, and showy in Alfred’s Tower’s potential.

It is however in the amalgamation of all these tunes which displays their diversity, an EP is a necessity, I feel. The second released single, So Long, is soulful again, along similar lines to This World, but balancing a poignant electric blues element, akin to a meld of The Who at their smoothest and Pink Floyd does pop. And perhaps there’s a clue to the chosen name in this; it’s a tower of variety, influences wise, reaching for the skies in uplifting narratives, strengthened by some skilfully executed original designs. Catchy within a rock classic formula, oh yeah, if this is foundational, the construction of Alfred’s Tower is one to watch. Like ‘em up on Facebook for updates on said progress. We NEED to see them live!


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