At this point, Leicester should have an established “Leicester Sound”. With acts like Blitzkrieg and Kasabian in the forefront of that movement, that sound could probably be described as edgy, harsh, witty, and dangerous. 9 O’Clock Nasty are a Leicester-based band, and be it nature or pure choice, they are embracing this sound rather organically.
By All Means Necessary is their latest album. With a plethora of release versions, and with each version getting a slightly different tracklist, we can safely deduce that the band has not run short of ideas anywhere during the making of this album. It’s also safe to say that if this album is short on anything, it’s not confidence, with them brazenly calling it the album of the year, an “all killer no filler” affair. Those are their words, as they challenge you and us to pick it up, give it a go, and prove them wrong. So we did; not to prove them wrong, but to see what’s behind these gutsy claims.
It’s actually quite simple. This album is simple. It’s honest, direct, and fun. It doesn’t pay much thought or mind to surface nuance. They aren’t here necessarily to blow our minds with their musical expertise. Instead, the focus is on grooves, vibes, and atmospheres. The first song is also the first of not one, but two, songs that sample the ‘When the Levee Breaks’ drum part. Bold or musical malnourishment? We’ll let you be the judge. The song is quite solid actually. With the drums taken care of, the band goes on to introduce a properly zany guitar riff that repeats while the song builds on top, with melodic vocal harmonies and a stiff, driving bass sound. Do Me Too has a tasty sound. A menacing drum and bass part drives the song forward and is really compelling. The singing in the chorus is infectious and the lyrics are witty. As the Ship Goes Down features a dry guitar riff that oozes with charm and attitude. Food On The Floor is one more charming riff and a group vocal part that’s dynamic, playful, and immensely catchy. The kind you’ll find yourself inching to sing for days afterwards. Get Into Them Part 1 is an interesting one based on the merits of the drum part alone. A venomous beat that’s tribal at heart with a breakbeat tinge, to back an aggressive vocal part that’s muddy and alarming. In stark contrast is Part 2. A jubilant riff played on a mildly overdriven guitar that calls to mind some of Keith Richards’s most memorable moments.
Indoor Boyfriend is the song that was cared for the least if I have to pick one. The riffs are, again, solid. I will even go as far as say that the chorus is one of many Led Zeppelin-inspired parts on the album. The issue arises with how loud the vocals are. A group vocal affair, again, with the voices clearly overlapping at some parts, and going out of tune at others. Mixed in too loud, and with dense sidechain compression, whenever those vocals kick in, they drown the catchy riffs below, which is a big shame. Preach Me Down is my favorite. Oozing with personality, the guitars in the choruses are scratchy and the riffs are dark, and are perfectly complemented by the foreboding, bass-led verses. With a massive, imposing tone on that bass, drenched in reverb and chorus. What Have You Done For Me Lately could easily (yes, easily) be mistaken for a Led Zeppelin tune in its starting 30 seconds. With the second sample of the famous Levee beat, a charismatic, blazing guitar riff, with a crunchy overdrive, and a solid, steady bass part. It’s even got a sizzling solo to boot. I’m Bent has some quirky riffs that again harken back to classic ‘Stones’ vibes. The inconsistent tempo actually makes the song jump and gives it soul.
Album of the Year? Make those vocals a little less feral and the mixes a little more balanced and it’ll get a fighting chance. But for now, it’s just an insanely fun album that’s indeed all killer. Now, when are we going to get that “Leicester Sound” Wikipedia page?
Check out 9 o’clock Nasty previous features here.