One Mile An Hour - Album Review
Posted by Hunter on Fri, 26 Oct 2012.
"It's often remarked that we are all products of our environment. So when 3 piece One Mile An Hour began to piece together their debut album, they were only ever going to achieve the result they wanted by constructing their own studio. A space built at the top of a house, overlooking the sea on the south coast, became the scene for the recording of this complex, introverted outsider-folk record."
The somewhat bleak artwork of the sea with a small rowing boat seemingly lost in isolation, (Tom Neely) may well be symbolic of what debut albums have to face these days. Right up against it. Pulling the CD out of the sleeve though and I'm greeted by a disc that resembles the vinyl of old, and memories come flooding back of pouring through old collections of 60's and 70's music. It's perhaps a very simple idea, not that it hasn't been done before, but it certainly draws a smile.
Sunken ships is a gem of an opening track, not in a rush to get anywhere, laid back, with wonderful vocal harmonies and a simple guitar riff. It's stripped back music that washes over the soul. In the latter stages of the track a slightly rockier edge develops, that achieves more with a relatively small amount of distortion than many guitarists achieve with everything set to eleven. It's quite an opening statement, but One Mile An Hour write music that demands you sit down, slow down, and pay attention.
The lyrics are certainly more cerebral then what you'll find in the mainstream pop charts, it's music to get lost in. The rest of the album follows very much in the same vein as the opener and because of the somewhat introspective look at life and events, the end result can sometimes sound a little bleak. However two tracks help a little to alleviate this, "Red" and "Freight Train". Red was something of a surprise, just a 54 second long short piece of guitar work, before Magpie Song, which featured perhaps the most fragile vocals uttered by Kightly on the debut album. The other interlude, Freight Train, certainly goes some way in catching the motion of a freight train with an Americana feel to it, and my only gripe was that I was enjoying it so much that the 1 minute 25 length of this track flew by far too quickly.
Jeff Kightly is perhaps the UK's answer to Jay Semko. With "Love you more then life itself" seemingly a bit cliché, and indeed if it had been sung by anyone else it would have been one of those cringe inducing moments, but with Kightly almost whispering it, overlaid with the simple guitar work, it simply works. But it's not just Kightly, One Mile An Hour are a trio, and the musicianship is absolutely sublime. Rather then having an element of the band being dominant, it all comes together beautifully. All in all it's a perfect little stormer of a debut from the band, well worth a listen.