The End’s the Start Where We Begin
24th June, 2016
Do As I Say– 9.4
Out of Time– 9.5
Return the Favour– 9.3
Take It In– 9.4
Out of Time; Take It In
Out of Time
I am just trying to recall the last time I…
reviewed a band. It is always nice looking at solo artists (duos and trios) and seeing what is out there. I stepped aside from assessing bands because of the sheer flood coming through. I felt there was very little distinction among the masses: few examples that came to the surface and sounded new, distinct and promising. Maybe it was just fatigue- or bands not stepping up and being good enough- but enough time has elapsed. Before I get to The 48ks- a band I have reviewed in the past- it is worth looking at the bands that are emanating right now in Yorkshire; the importance of employing the ‘right’ influences- which acts could be making their way to the big stages in years to come. Hailing from Doncaster (Yorkshire) you would be forgiven for struggling to name too many artists from this town. Whilst neighbours Sheffield and Leeds have their fair share of legends: Doncaster is not the first name you might associate with blistering-hot bands. In the area, there are some great, hungry young acts: few that we would have heard of. Sheffield is facing a resurgence and gentrification to an extent: that prosperity is providing housing and opportunity for bands and artists to play. Venues are springing up and older ones are surviving: ensuring the music culture there remains strong and prosperous. Doncaster is undergoing changes and could end the same way. Right now, the town has Cask Corner and Diamond Live Longue: two places where a young artist can cut their teeth. For ‘real’ exposure; I guess there is more opportunity to be found in cities like Sheffield. I have mentioned Yorkshire as often as any other county/area: a part of the world that is among the most fertile and variegated. In the past- and mainstream acts playing- Yorkshire has produced everyone from Arctic Monkeys and Pulp; Moloko and The Cult; The Cribs and Gang of Four. It is clear to see: Yorkshire is one of the leading lights with regards legendary artists. There is less attention paid to the area right now: focus tends to stay on cities like London. It is foolhardy to overlook Yorkshire and the treasure to be found. If Sheffield legends ABC, The Human League and Def Leppard have proved anything: Yorkshire is a part of the U.K. that has changed music for the better. In 2016, there are some great bands- playing under-the-radar- that could make it to the mainstream in years to come. The 48ks are one such act. I have known there for a while now, and am impressed by their kinship and tunes: the energy and tightness each song is imbued with. Before I carry on- and look at other avenues- let’s meet Doncaster’s brightest, The 48ks:
“Living in the shadows of noisy neighbours Sheffield, Doncaster has its own Phoenix rising from the ashes of closed mines and Thatcher’s Britain telling stories of their lives and times. Whereas Sheffield has the musical heritage of Pulp, Arctic Monkeys, the Human League, Def Leppard Doncaster’s famous sons are Kevin Keegan and Jeremy Clarkson. No bands. The 48ks aim to change this. Their manifesto is to “provide proper tunes”, “proper songs that mean something to someone, songs you and your mates can sing together and you believe every word” and purge the charts of soulless, lifeless rubbish. With songs in the classic style of Lennon/McCartney Jagger/Richards is there any reason why Lightfoot/Dale of the 48ks can’t join their heroes. They’ve certainly got the tunes. The 48ks formed in late 2009 and after various personnel changes they have grown into their own shoes with relentless gigging and songwriting. Combining their collective influences and adding their own individual ingredients they are intent on bringing the guitar and vocal harmonies back to the forefront of modern music. Their love of their heroes The Beatles, The Kinks, The Stones, The Jam, The La’s, Led Zeppelin, Oasis, The Who, Ocean Colour Scene and Cast is the standard which they aspire to. The 48ks write tunes for the people. If they were not in the band then these are the boys they’d be rooting for. They’ve put the hard work in, they’ve worked for a living so people can relate to what they are saying. They all love a beer, a flutter on the gee gees, a night on the tiles, going the footy and their clobber but music is their passion. In March 2013 they released their self-funded debut album “For Every Day a Memory” to rave reviews and catching the attention of BBC 6’s Huey Morgan
The band have gigged relentlessly at venues big and small including 02 academy, The Plug, Sheffield City Hall, The Cockpit, Doncaster Dome, Doncaster Racecourse and various local festivals. Acts they have supported include The View, The Enemy, Reverend and The Makers, The Milk, Babybird and John Power from Cast and The La’s. On November 8th the 48ks release their brand new 4 track ep “Caught up with the Wrong Crowd” which has already caught the attention of BBC6’s Steve Lamacq who reccomended the band as ones to check out. They will follow this up with gigs and festivals to spread the word. The 48ks are made up of Ryan Lightfoot on vocals, Simon Katuszonek on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Steven Dale on lead guitar and backing vocals, Adam Golightly on bass guitar and backing vocals and Chris Morris on drums.”
Caught Up in the Wrong Crowd was released a year ago and was a bold quartet of songs. Having been busy since; the boys have been rocking the local crowds- making their voices heard and their intentions known. Over the years; the guys have attracted attention from huge radio stations and local venues. The guys have stayed cemented and not cracked- a lot of their contemporaries have called time. That blend of big areas and intimate dates has cemented their performances and reflects on their latest E.P. I have heard few bands that sound as focused and urgent: every song cuts to the core and leaves an impression. It is always hard predicting which artists will make it to the ‘big time’ in years to come. With huge patronage and backing behind them: who would ever bet again The 48ks? The early signs are all promising: the consistent records; the approval of big names; the string of gigs. I find there are few bands in the mainstream that are really providing any excitement and originality. Whilst The 48ks where their influences on their sleeves- from The La’s to Oasis- they are very much their own band. They are everyday blokes that make music for the masses: that desire and hard-to-ignore business statement will stand them in good stead. The End’s the Start Where We Begin– the guys never do short E.P. titles- is a cryptic and fascinating work: one that shows development and progress; keeps all their fundamental strengths intact. It is the way the band employ their influences that result in such universal, strong songs. Too many modern acts stick rigidly with certain examples: the likes of Foo Fighters and Arctic Monkeys are among them. Sure; they are great acts- well, Foo Fighters aren’t- but it seems like a cynical ploy- replicating modern-day artists that are a proven success. Maybe it is just admiration funneling itself: I feel some bands lack inspiration; they steal that of others. When it comes to The 48ks: the band has a passion and appreciation for the acts that have compelled them. You can hear ‘60s touches of The Beatles in certain moments; ‘70s shades of The Who, Led Zeppelin and The Kinks; ‘90s legends like Oasis and Ocean Colour Scene. All of these touches and incorporations- tied with their own, unique flair- has meant their music crosses generations and boundaries. Fans across the spectrum are picking up The 48ks- not just the younger audiences- and their fan numbers are climbing, by the year. More importantly, their music straddles the heydays of the ‘60s and ‘70s; tied with the innovation and urgency of modern-day music.
Over the past few years, the band has enjoyed support slots with the likes of The View, The Enemy; Reverend and the Makers, The Strypes; Cast, Space; From the Jam, The Crookes and The Milk. That is quite an impressive list from a group that, are right now, underground heroes. I have seen their music strengthen and evolve from the early days. Their L.P., For Every Day a Memory was unveiled in 2012 and was a strong statement from the fledgling band. The crisp and clean production meant every song leapt from the speakers. The boys mixed Oasis-esque guitar squall (Lead the Way) with singalong choruses and Punk energy. It is that mixture of Punk, Mod. and Rock- drawing influence from the ‘60s-present- that hanged together so well. The energy and catchiness (especially Time ‘n’ Again) translated brilliantly in the live arena. By penning some familiar jams- with a unique twist- the guys gained a solid fanbase rather quickly. For Every Day a Memory caught the ears of many- including Huey Morgan- and the boys toured it widely. These live dates cemented their craft and gave the band confidence and impetus. All of these pluses went into Caught Up in the Wrong Crowd. Arriving some time after their debut L.P.: the song sounded a lot sharper and more honed. Their album was a treasure trove of wonderful songs and hook-laden jams: if anything, their E.P. was even-more-infectious and compelling. The performances were tighter and more honed; the choruses bolder and more emphatic- the overall sound more nuanced. Tracks like Changing bulldozed their way from the speakers: the guys were in rich and determined mood. If anything- and the change between the releases- was the originality to be found. The album was a mixture of their influences: Caught Up in the Wrong Crowd showed more of the boys’ personalities. The percussion gained more attention; the riffs were sharper and attacking- the vocals bolder and more scintillating. This rate of development has continued into The End’s the Start Where We Begin. Again, the guys present a four-track E.P. The songs do not outstay their welcome; they are sharp, crisp and concentrated. Whilst the subject matter and sounds do not differ too much- having cemented that previously- what you notice is that confidence and tightness. These are words and thoughts I levy in most reviews. Bands that are truly together and passionate seem to improve and grow between records. In the next few weeks, the guys take on Sandall Park Fake Festival (Doncaster); The Leadmill (Sheffield) and The Donkey (Leicester) – that takes us to the end of June. After that, the guys go to Sheffield and Doncaster (playing to their home crowd on August 6th). These gigs will strengthen them more: the audiences will respond to the new material and give the band the confidence to keep going. I hope there will be another album soon enough- maybe in 2017, lads? I can see the band grow and solidify with every new release. The End’s the Start Where We Begin is a stunning E.P. that contains all the tried-and-tested ingredients you would expect and demand. The boys have sprinkled in some more magic; this is their finest recording yet- who knows just where they can go from here!
I am excited to be (one of the) first to unpick the latest ‘48ks E.P., The End’s the Start Where We Begin. I will start by apologising to the guys: I sometimes put apostrophes where they shouldn’t; vice versa, too. I have not put an apostrophe in ‘The 48ks’- I have seen it written as ‘The 48k’s’- and not sure whether there should be one (apostrophe) in the E.P.’s title. Anyway, that is an aside: it is great to see the guys back with a new release.
Do As I Say kicks the E.P. off with some echo and attack. Little suggestions of Pixies mix with Ocean Colour Scene. Whilst the guys are charging and intent (from the offset) they have shown a departure from their previous work. In past efforts; I could pick up clear influences and bands. Here, that task is a lot harder: the guys sound more ‘themselves’ and unique; tighter and sharper than I have ever heard. “The future’s here/it’s catching up on you” as our frontman attests. Advising (the subject) to “Do as I say”: you start to wonder what has inspired the song. Maybe he is talking to a lover or former flame: someone that has pissed him off or is causing some ruction. There is plenty of mystery and room for interpretation in those early moments. “You say I’m telling lies” leads me to believe there are issues within a relationship: perhaps the pair are going through conflict; on different pages and balkanised. Even from this opening track; you can sense the attack and determination in the ranks. The vocal performance bursts with passion and panache; the percussion slams and pummels; the bass guides the song and ties it all together- the guitars create thunder and lightning; perfect backing for the angst-ridden lyrics. Patronisation and condescension could be seen in some of the words- “Am I talking to fast/for you to understand?”- and there is some snide rebuke underneath the surface. Maybe this is just confidence and clarity: our hero is in ripe voice and no mood to suffer fools. As the lyrics tumble and hit: I was still wondering about the inspiration behind the song. The guys ensure that chorus- infectious, catchy and uplifting- comes around as often as possible- it is one the live crowds will be repeating when the song gets a public airing. Towards the final stages- the guitars and percussion come into the spotlight- you get more pieces of the puzzles. Games are being played and deception is clear: our hero has had enough of his target. Props must be given to the guitar which is truly scintillating in the final third. Here is a song where every band member gets the chance to stand out front and shine.
Out of Time has already been unveiled- and getting some good feedback- and it seems like a logical lead-off single. The opening riff- echoed, mixed-down and hollow- gets the ears ready and the mind prepared. It is not long before the coda becomes more emphatic and bold. The guys all sharpen and unite- the introduction twirls and dances with abandon. Elements of The La’s and The Kinks come together- pleasing to those who loved their previous work- and we get another set of curious lyrics. Whilst the predecessor might have been trained towards love’s woes and imbalance: here, there might be something more personal and positive. New horizons are beckoning; a new script has come to pass- our lead is looking to the future. Maybe love has not worked out- and relations have been unpredictable- but there is positivity and hopefulness shining through. Whereas Do As I Say was a sharp, snarling and heavy track: here, there is more texture, restraint, and melody. The lads balance the energy and rush of the opener with something more considered, slower and more introspective. The 48ks show how gifted they are when it comes to composition. Here, there is a melody and sound that recalls the Pop glory of the ‘60s: you cannot help but smile; there is something familiar and comforting; plenty of depth, colour and rouse. Our man does not need “a new reaction”- the song’s subject cannot see “the old attraction”- and more mystique is fed in. The 48ks match everyday lyrics with some rather thought-provoking lines: there is no exception within Out of Time. The song contains another, reliable singalong, chorus: plenty of opportunities for crowds to jump, sing and bounce with enthusiasm.
Return the Favour opens with softer and more reflective strings. Ensuring the E.P. contains necessary contrast and range: the guys turn down the volume and offer something more settled. The strings twist, bubble and smiles- a gorgeous, tender line that gets the hairs standing on end. That is perhaps an ironic statement, as the opening lyrics ask just that: “Sing me something/sing me something/that makes my hair stand up on end”. That initial courtesy and paen make way for something more deflated- wanting to be shown something that drives (our man) “round the bend”. There is clear humour in these early phases: you start to picture the scenes and arguments. Our boy is going to return the favour- “Another moment for us to savour”- and you can sense that balance of tension and admiration. Whether speaking directly to a lover- or a dear friend- there is something rather charming and pure about the song. The sentiments are true and the delivery is filled with heartfelt passion and energy. The composition remains fairly light- compared with previous tracks- to allow the vocal to stand out-front. The song’s structure- repeating lines and bringing the song’s title in regularly- ensures the words get inside the mind very quickly. It is a song (once more) that will appeal to the crowds and get them singing along. The 48ks are masters when blending simplicity with personal. Return the Favour always has a smile on its face. The hero wants to meet the girl- “Name the time/and the place”- and is looking forward to their rendez vous. You get clear suggestions from ‘60s and ‘70s Pop. Artists like The Beatles and The Kinks have gone into this song: a track that emanates from a purer and more innocent time. Perhaps not the most instant and memorable track from the E.P.: it is one of those songs that grows stronger and more addictive with each listen. Return the Favour affords the band a chance to take down the lights and offer something heartfelt and gentle. While there are plenty of romantic sentiments: the band inject plenty of variation, spark and potency into the composition. The percussion remains sturdy and pared-back- still strong and sturdy- but it is the guitar and bass that takes the lead roles. You get caught up in the delirious and beckoning strings; the delightful sound soothes the soul.
Take It In begins with a clatter and slam. The boys are back in rampant mode and ensure the opening seconds pack plenty of punch. The percussion rolls and the guitar stings: introducing a track that ends the E.P. with a glorious tattoo. The song’s subject- whomever that might be- is “leaving tomorrow”. Whilst the E.P.’s opening two tracks has some negativity lurking: the final two numbers are a lot more positive, supportive and open-armed. The 48ks are not a band that accuse and hate: even their most ‘angered’ songs have hope and light in the tunnel. Take It In sees our hero keeping his door open: whomever is leaving is very dear; they will always be in his thoughts. Simple lyrics and that blend of ‘60s and ‘70s Pop purity ensure smile are on faces; listeners are hooked and invested to the final notes. Leaving forever- in a few hours, it seems- you start to wonder whether a sweetheart is being assessed. Maybe they are going onto better things- new lands and opportunities- but there is no recrimination and tension. Glasses are being raised and celebration is in the air: it is wrong but “it feels so right”. It is here where the E.P.’s title- The End’s the Start Where We Begin– is brought in. Maybe this is an ending, of sorts. With this end, there are new beginnings: perhaps a chance for both parties to improve life and discover something wonderful. The 48ks always fascinate me with their lyrics. The composition captures the heart and compels you to drift away: the lyrics get the brain spiked and in interpretative arenas. I started to picture scenes unfold and the story progress- where these two people were going. The rules are meant to be broken- “So what you waiting for?”- and there is a real sense of taking the bull by the horns- taking a chance and not looking back. Past the second half, you wonder whether there is any way back (for the duo) or if their future has been decided. Take It In ranks among the E.P.’s most memorable and crowd-uniting songs. Every note is very much born in the U.K. So many bands take influence (too heavily) from U.S. artists: here, there is a true Britishness that rings through in every note. By the song’s finale, the band leaps into the fray and give their instruments a chance to fill the gaps. Guitar notes wail, stretch and dance; the percussion spatters and spits; the bass is solid and leading- keeping all the layers together and strong. It is a wonderful end to a stunning E.P.: the boys are back in force!
The 48ks have created- in my view, at least- their finest E.P. The themes of love and moving on; hope and togetherness- these will ring true with fans of the band. Singalong choruses and standout moments will enflame the crowds and bring in new supporters. The band is at their tightest and most together- it seems like touring has solidified them and strengthened their music. There are no weak moments in The End’s the Start Where We Begin: each song earns its place and will get inside the memory. Ryan Lightfoot, Steve Dale; Simon Kato, Adam Golightly and Chris Morris are a superb five-piece that are in peak form. If you are not a convert of The 48ks: The End’s the Start Where We Begin is an E.P. that will change your mind and have you hooked.
The End’s the Start Where We Begin marks another triumphant release from Doncaster’s The 48ks. I have always been a fan of the boys and that is not going to change. With every new record; the band cover new ground and seem to strength and grow. There is no sense of let’s-do-this-the-same-way-as-before: each E.P. contains new layers and stories; fresh sounds and something new- retaining the inimitable and distinguished sound they have cemented. Out of Time– the E.P.’s sophomore track- has been unveiled on social media and met with acclaim. My ambivalence towards social media is not going to change. Looking at The 48ks’ social media pages, you have to ask yourself: why do they not have more support? Their fans numbers are pretty decent; the reception and feedback they get- when a new song is unveiled- seems underwhelming. The guys have a great fanbase, yet, when a fresh cut is released, few people comment or share- maybe it is just a sign of general apathy? I see many bands (inferior to The 48ks) whose numbers go nuts when a new song is released. Maybe it is not something that irks The 48ks: I feel the band deserve more recognition and social media awareness; something that befits their stature and reputation. Oh well, I guess! The boys will not quibble as they have already captured the imagination of some of music’s biggest names- bands like Reverend and the Makers and ‘6 Music’s Huey Morgan. I am a little cold with regards the bands in the mainstream right now. I have always found unsigned/lesser-known groups more compelling and capable. What we have right now- in the spotlight- is not good enough. There are some heroes, for sure, but not nearly enough.
The greatest promise is emerging from under the surface: the bands that play the local scene; putting their towns on the map. The 48ks are one such act. They have been playing for years and are a cemented and galnavised band. They are progressing nicely and proving to be one of the most interesting and arresting bands on the scene. The End’s the Start Where We Begin is another stunning record that will gain them new attention and followers. From there, where will they head? There are dates and gigs to conquer- both locally and out-of-town- whilst radio-play and media attention will surely come. At the heart of things is the commonness of the band (not in a derisive way). The guys are your ordinary, friendly type. They work hard- all hold regular jobs; making sure they pay their way- and are the kind of lads you’d chat to down your local. This relatability and strong work ethic goes into their infectious songs: once heard; they are damn-near-impossible to shake off. I would love to see the boys come down to London: whether that is on the itinerary, I am not too sure. The capital would welcome the Yorkshire band to the bosom. Make sure you snap-up The End’s the Start Where We Begin in June: an E.P. that signals clear intent and desire. The 48ks are content to infuse and enthrone their local reputation, yet I can sense that hunger. The guys want more; they want to join their heroes: transcend from the underground and make their way to the biggest stages in the country. You would not bet against The 48ks finding their way onto the bill at Leeds Festival. For now- and before we get carried away- enjoy what is out there (the single, Out of Time) and prepare yourself for something special. Those who loved Caught Up in the Wrong Crowd will love what the band has done this time. There are common threads and a very ‘48ks-esque’ sound: there are new themes and fresh energy that has gone into their latest cut. That mixture of familiar and progressive is what defines the band. Few of their contemporaries have such a strong set of material, so for that reason, we should help propagate the music. If The 48ks do make their way to a London venue; one thing’s for sure:
I will see them there!
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