The Assist - Council Pop
Release Date: Out Now
The Assist might come from West Midlands but this self-released debut album is music for everyone who has ever felt left out, marginalised or downtrodden but still had just enough spark to fight back. 'Council Pop' is a collection of urban poetry set to infectious melodies and rousing beats so forgive me for thinking this might be one of the defining releases of 2022. The album gets underway with 'Water' which has a sinister tone underpinning the spoken word recording of a matriarch preaching about how to look after the things that matter. 'Irrational Movements', the single that started this love affair, is up next and it still feels like and indie anthem ready to spark some kind of revolution with its mix of Kasabian energy and Madchester grooves.
"There's a premature fear we feel for things that aren't real" are the opening lines of 'The End of the World', a song designed to make you step away from the edge when you're sweating the small stuff whilst full of perky indie energy and an almost Beach Boys-esque vocal in the chorus. While 'Numb' embraces a more spaced-out vibe in line with New Order, 'Daydream' goes for the expansive guitar lines that sweep across the city scape horizons promising the chance of escape some day. The songwriting behind 'My Friend Drug' has a feel of Noel Gallagher and Ian Brodie to it which is high praise indeed as the band tell stories and tug on your heart strings with the musicianship.
There's a real Reverend & the Makers vibe on 'To Isabella' which is a love letter but also full of realism broken by the spell of the sing-along chorus line of "Our love is gonna last forever, gonna last much longer than our lives together". 'Television Kid' is ready made for Soccer Saturday or Match of the Day montage soundtracking with it's hooky guitars, uptempo energy and stories of escapism. The energy of 'Brother' is all about Saturday mornings when you've got plans to get on one and spend the day with all your best mates and that's the kind of uplifting energy we all need right now.
Penultimate track 'Salvation' is my favourite on the album as it builds a moody and, frankly, storming vibe with a wall of guitars and a vocal melody just made to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up - this one is festival ready, for sure. The five and a half minute closing track of 'Better Days' harks back to that matriarch we met at the beginning before a loose but funky beat kicks in and those tight guitar notes are back for the ride. This is music for making the most of what you've got, looking adversity in the eye and offering it a pint, turning your dreams in to your reality and not letting the bastards grind you down. We can't all be like the Assist, I'm not saying that, but we can be grateful for bands like them who are willing to play the music that might just lift us out of our funks from time to time. Album of the year? It's got to be a contender.
More information: https://www.facebook.com/TheAssistBand/
16th-19th June - Isle of Wight Festival, Isle of Wight