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6 out of 10
"Thank You" is the debut album by Hampshire based quintet Canterbury and on the 23rd of November it's being made available for FREE (www.canterburythankyou.com) and as such I implore you to download this 11 track beast, as although not totally the finished article it's a massive step in the right direction and has plenty to love.
Recorded roughly two years ago with Peter Miles (The King Blues, Tonight Is Goodbye, Failsafe) in drums Scott Peters' living room (this was before Peter Miles had his own studio) I have no idea why it's taken quite so long to get released, but thankfully for the music lovers out there and the band it's finally being unleashed on the world.
The band falls in the category of English modern rock, but partly due to the dark and grimy production and partly due to the tone of the songwriting it slides on to the more sombre / serious side of rock with similarities bobbing up and down throughout the album with recent touring partners Hundred Reasons and Billy Talent.
I'm not usually one for dissecting every track on an album as it can sometimes harm the review to go too in-depth and push the word count over acceptable easy-reading levels, but with quite a diverse range of songs it feels like the only way to get across what Canterbury are aiming for with "Thank You". So on that note...
Opening track "Peace & Quiet" is the first out of the gate and romps home a 90's alternative rock vibe that sets that stall for what is to come, with thick slinging bass lines, straight up non-screamed melodic English vocals, charging drums and swirling guitars. "Eleven, Twelve" is like Tellison if they were bullied as children and as such lead a more introverted and dark existence, the general brooding nature and impressive tom work on the drums melds together nicely with the toe tapping melody. "Diver" is a bit of a mixed bag as it has some great "woa-ahs" sung in it over some really good driving cymbal led drums, but then it lets itself down with a guitar solo that sounds well placed, but is just too low in the mix to really stand out and a jangly-indie-pop breakdown that just doesn't fit and makes it seem like one great song fused with a frankly irritating song, thus diluting its effects.
Following on "Accident" lowers the tone, quite literally with some seriously deep and dirty bass that lends itself to the Fightstar/Deftones style of things and at just 1:04 it's a short blast of menace. "Ambulance" sends Canterbury's truly English vocals to the forefront, which I might add is a joy to hear from one of our country's bands as I dislike the faux-American accent often implemented and the song itself is just a foot stomper.
"Hospital" is one of the group's most mellow tracks, but also one of the track's with the catchiest chorus, have a listen and see if you don't end up singing "plugged into machines at the side of the bed, I woke up from a dream could have sworn I was dead, how long has it been because I miss you to death, a miracle so they say" right back at your stereo. "Take Me Out Of The Wall" returns to the dark side with the help of some mildly menacing keyboard sounds emanating from beneath the wall of sound and is arguably one of their better tracks.
"Got To Believe" is one of the weaker songs off the album with a beginning stop-start rhythm that reeks of early song-writing, but luckily the wall of sound and riff returns to save this 1:55 track from the skip button. "Set You Right" sets it feet in the electronic indie-pop stable, which I think for the band is the wrong way to go as they seem to thrive when playing their more rock-orientated numbers rather than the likes of "Set You Right" where the 90's-esque synth noise is simply distracting.
"Friends? We're More Like A Gang" sadly continues to use the irritating synth noise in varying places throughout this track and it again sadly dents what could otherwise be an interesting prospect. Closer "Hometime" is more in league with the piano-pop of Luke Leighfield than the balls out rock of Billy Talent but the genuine and sincere vocals carry the song and save it from being too sickly-sweet with lyrics such as "You were a sunset, I was a hurricane", which could have obviously gone either way!
The first half of the album is probably the better of the two, but there are still many things to enjoy throughout the album as a whole and you have to applaud their lofty ideas. This is now two years old as I say, so no doubt the next release will be better produced (the gritty feel is appropriate in places, but underwhelms in others) and offer up a true slice of what Canterbury are about now. For now though, when this is as cheap as free I can't possibly argue against downloading it. The group show heaps of potential, and are definitely ones to keep an eye on. Go catch them on tour now to see what all the fuss will be about...
1. Peace & Quiet
2. Eleven, Twelve
7. Take Me Out Of The Wall
8. Got To Believe
9. Set You Right
10. Friends? We're More Like A Gang