This week sees the release of the album Forever from UK punk n roll band Allegro. It is an ironic title as the London band is no longer around to benefit from what is sure to be an enthused and positive response to the collection of pop punk and rock n roll gems within the release. Two years ago the band was on the rise, their feisty and energetic sounds grabbing a growing army of fans through their renowned chaotic yet irresistible live shows. Supports for the likes of The Holloways, Reefs, The Towers of London and Martha Reeves as well as their own adrenaline soaked shows saw Allegro on the verge of big things. From signing to a minor label for next to nothing things went awry, their debut album was delayed and delayed until eventually the band split, the label retaining all rights to the release and all things Allegro. A long battle ensued until now thankfully the band has permission to and is able to release the album. We say thankful as it would have been a travesty if something this great and fun was never to see the light of day.
Forever is not an album to offer anything particularly new, though it is packed with imaginative and unique mischief, but certainly it is a release to guarantee nothing but pleasure from its hungry pokes of prime rock n roll. Quite simply it is a release of energetic slaps of punk n roll to dance and let loose to. It is also an album which is nicely varied without moving too far from its infectious attitude and stance. This helps make the album stand out from other similarly driven releases and makes the thought of how impressive the band could have been if they had not called it a day frustrating.
The album opens with City Lights and within seconds of its rapping beats and dark bass swagger it has one hooked. The mixed guitar slices of sonic sharpness and jangly rubs fire up the senses whilst the keys envelope the ear with a gentle and warm embrace. The track is a merger of slowly wrapped beauty and thumping rhythms and energies, a fiery stab of rock which easily ensures attention is primed and secured.
The following punk blistering rampage of Stringys is an abrasive pleasure complete with blues toned guitar invention which points at the diversity of sound within the release, soon backed up by the excellent Chuck Berry Waltz N All, to complete the opening trio of outstanding tracks. This song is a captivating brew of flavours, its opening keys and rhythms sound like The Jam around the time of The Gift and the emerging acidic hook a delicious Buzzcocks like piece of mesmerism. Not for the first time or last, there is an Arctic Monkeys tint to the sound too, though not as over powering and distracting as can be found in other bands and releases. The band comfortably brings it all into a smooth union with their own invention, to create a track which just excites and energises the heart. The sixties inspired keys which soak the song elevates the attraction to greater levels and though arguably it is not one of the most immediate songs it is one of the most powerful.
The likes of the wholly infectious View From The Water Rats, the rhythm jabbing I’ll Stand By You, and Alright, a song which just stokes up the fires with its primal beats and acidic unpolished guitar grazes, all hit the sweet spot. The latter of the three ventures and slips through different faces with skill and accomplished songwriting to engage and intrigue completely, a strength amongst many which can also be applied to Forever.
As great as the album is from start to finish it leaves its biggest highlights until the closing stretch in the irresistible shapes of I’ll Be There For You and Hola Senor! Rita. The first has the appetite dribbling from its opening vocals and harmonies before securing adoration with its senses clashing riffs and melodic saltiness. Like salt in food the slightly harsh touches just enflame the addictive pull of the track. The second of the two is simply majestic old school seventies punk updated with extra naughty relish and greedy imagination, just magnificent.
Forever is a wonderful album which thankfully we now all have the chance to dive into and devour with hearts a blazing. Maybe Allegro will rise again, but if not they have finally given an album to ensure they will not be forgotten.
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