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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Stiff Little Fingers - No Going Back

Eleven years in the making.
Give or take a month or two that could be four thousand and fifteen days of musical ideas swirling about heads until they were spewed out in a studio.
Apparently Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel in four.
So he would be on the last stretch of his third in the same time-frame that it has taken Stiff Little Fingers to record and deliver twelve songs.

Taking that into consideration, then the fans could be forgiven for raising their expectation up and confidently thinking that every single note would be a masterpiece in its own right.

However this is a strange one.

It’s difficult to put a finger on what is wrong, if there even is something wrong, but there’s something that is not quite right.
Lyrically it’s very good.
So good in fact that song after song it consistently maintains a level that is comparable to the best material from the bands career.
As for the musicianship it similarly can’t be knocked.
It has the signature SLF sound and rattles along at a fair clip.
So what is it that I'm failing to get from it?

Well the answer may be that my expectations have been hovering at a level that was never going to be matched.
As each year slipped into the next it was difficult not to think that with the amount of time dedicated to writing and recording that when it finally seen the light of day then it would be an album that left us all breathlessly gape jawed in amazement, and yet it doesn't.
I can nod my head along to it, tap my toe to the beat, but what I wanted to do was slip the CD into the tray, turn the speakers up, and pogo until my heart felt like it would burst.
Then as the last song raced for the finish line I’d want to hit the repeat button and do it all again.
Yet here I am looking at a J Roddy Walston and Business CD that is sitting a few feet away from me and thinking I really want to put that back on.

With ‘No Going Back’ there’s a fire flickering away there, but it’s not the aural conflagration that I was so desperately longing for.

Yeah. I wanted more. That’s it in a nutshell.

If this was a d├ębut from some young guns I would probably be raving that it had ticked pretty much all the boxes, but it’s not from some young guns.
It’s not the culmination of work carried out in a bedroom and let out to run free in local pubs.

I don’t doubt that live the material will come alive and be everything that they can be, but the studio isn't where they are living and breathing for me.

It feels like I'm standing on a cold corner with SLF and I can hear myself say “It’s not you, it’s me. I wanted too much. You tried, but I kept asking for more.”
Then I walk away, and as soon as I am out of sight I meet up with J Roddy Walston and dance with him until my heart does burst. 

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