Since the split of Noah And The Whale back in April, there has been a lot of attention on the former band members as they look to launch their own solo careers. With Matt Owens releasing his debut SONGS FOR AN EMPTY ROOM and Charlie Fink recently revealed his song ‘My Heartbeat Lost It’s Rhythm’, Fred Abbott was the first to get out there with new material just a week after the split. Now with the album SERIOUS POKE finally out to the world, it is time to see what Fred has been working on.
Kicking off the album, we get the punchy ‘Adrenaline Shot’, straight away the Rock N Roll jaunt begins. With hints of many classic rockers, it sounds familiar and unique. Then we get that catchy first single ‘Funny How Good It Feels’, if you are not tapping along to this one, I will feel sorry for you. The air guitar isn’t far away with this rush of immense power. ‘Awake’ then lightens up the record. It is interesting to note that Fred’s voice adapts perfectly into every track, this song hears a more gravel-tone voice used to great effect. Also that guitar solo is rather brilliant! Fred has been called “the British Tom Petty” a few times, and the track ‘Honey’ almost makes that title true. But, I prefer to acknowledge the style that Fred has is his own! I feel myself thinking of Dire Straits, this song feels like something they could have produced with Fred on the team (I reckon Fred should cover a Dire Straits track, or collaborate with Mark Knopfler). ‘Hollywood’ brings us to the half-way point. A rather appropriate song, considering a lot of US rock is clearly an influence to this album.
‘One Hot Night’ continues the album with a very different song; you get a track which in my opinion brings influence from Noah And The Whale, and this I feel could have been a track for them. Though, it would still have to have Fred’s vocals. ‘Learn About Love’ continues Fred’s exploration of rock, finding different styles and influences is paying off with an album which isn’t afraid to change key and yet still feel part of the same collection. Tom Waits would be jealous of this song. ‘Don’t Look Like Him’ once again makes me believe a collaboration with Mark Knopfler should happen, I honestly think he and Fred should get together on some material and maybe get Fred to cover ‘Walk Of Life’ or ‘Money For Nothing’. Well, I can dream at least. The piano leads ‘Still Told A Lie’, a more emotional track comes as the penultimate song to SERIOUS POKE. It is a nice change of pace, and will certainly get the lighters in the air when played live. Finally we have ‘Lucky People’, the longest track on the album. It feels we are coming to a natural conclusion. The tempo may only be slightly higher than the previous song, but the song still carries a more sombre, mellow tone to it.
SERIOUS POKE is pure brilliance in a short space of time. You will find yourself passing all ten perfectly constructed tracks in no time. Also, one note to make is that a majority of this music was recorded with Fred’s former colleagues of Noah And The Whale, their closeness and friendship is definitely felt here and I certainly hope that these guys will continue to work together for a long time to come, even if the band may not be around anymore. Great sounds, a seriously fascinating ride is promised with this debut album. I already can’t wait to hear album two! I will go ahead and say it; this is my favourite album of the year so far. Also, the first album I have listened to in full twice when I first played it.
Final Rating: 10/10
Written by Jonjo Cosgrove