Album Reviews

The Redwalls – De Nova

(Parlophone) UK release date: 4 July 2005

That The Redwalls should be supporting Oasis on their at-the-time-of-writing UK tour is of absolutely no surprise. As De Nova – the distressingly young Chicago boys’ first major label release – suggests from its opening chords, here is another band little short of obsessed with early-era The Beatles, albeit spliced with a healthy dose of rock’n’roll.

Oasis, it has been argued, look and sound a little like The Beatles, but undeniably have their own songs. The Redwalls sail rather closer to the wind, but they also have a wider reference library at their disposal. Thank You is a ’60s nostalgist’s wet dream, bringing John Lennon back from the dead and instructing him to cover Lenny Kravitz‘s It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over. Lennon, of course, triumphs.

But alongside the ’60s guitars, blues chord structures sit with saxophone backing (Robinson Crusoe) and appropriate use of keyboards (the singalong Build A Bridge Together), suggesting a nod and a wink to The Rolling Stones too.

If they’d stuck purely to a guitar-based sound it’d have been easy to dismiss them as yet another band with “The” in their name. These 13 songs succeed in suggesting there’s more talent to The Redwalls than an ability to successfuly facsimile. But you could say the same about Jet.

Back Together is a wig out in the grand old manner of English rock’n’roll, be it by Americans or otherwise. And, just to make sure the message gets across, they even name their final track Rock & Roll.

De Nova, produced by Rob Schnapf (the man behind the scenes of The Vines‘s Highly Evolved and much of the late Elliott Smith‘s output) hangs together well as an album. The downtempo Hung Up On The Way I’m Feeling acts as a toilet break half way through an otherwise energetic set of two halves. Even here the vocals sound like Lennon never died – and never more so than on Front Page. But you could say the same about Oasis.

The Glory Of War is the one track when The Redwalls suggest there could be more to them than precocious poses, snappy suits and Beatle worship. It’s something like an anti-war song. And is that a mellotron I hear in the middle?

“All three write, sing and even play a little piano,” it says on their press release. Bless their carefully messed-up hairdos. The Redwalls are the band most likely to restore your parents’ faith in the younger generation. Whether “the kids” will get even mildly excited about this undoubtedly talented but flagrantly derivitive act remains to be seen.

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The Redwalls – De Nova