As the glories and adventures of life can provide the richest pleasures similarly so too the simple act of pressing play can provide such life affirming moments, experiences which come thick and fast within Revolt Against An Age of Plenty. The new album from UK outfit The Great Leap Forward, it brings a cascade of feel good incitements which whether worldly and emotionally observed or snapping at closer to home political and social issues just lifted the spirit.
Manchester hailing The Great Leap Forward is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist songwriter and lyricist Alan Brown who previously was one third of inimitable post punk/indie rockers bIG*fLAME. From that band’s demise in 1986, Brown concentrated on The Great Leap Forward to bring his songwriting and music to ears and now nine years after his last album, This Is Our Decade Of Living Cheaply And Getting By, he has unveiled the quickly proving addictive Revolt Against An Age of Plenty.
Seeded in a fusion of eighties new wave/post punk and indie pop bred through the sharp vision and rampant imagination of current indie rock, the new outing offers thirteen tracks which court bouncing bodies and eager thoughts with creative and energetic zeal. It is lustful in its persuasion and dextrous in its enterprise, never allowing ears or the imagination a moment to assume as each track musically and lyrically provoked keen attention and reaction.
Songs To Die To sets off the contagion, the opener taunting attention from its first breath as a viral hook moves in, its arrival joined by Brown’s potent tones and just as lively rhythmic manipulation. Equally there is a blossoming fanfare to the track, a rising of anthemic drama matched in the busy, warmly cacophonous roar of sounds around it.
It is a great start quickly eclipsed by the following Things That Make Me Happy, it too laying down an initial calm coaxing in the shape of a guitar jangle before erupting in a keenly animated web of hooks and melodic enterprise. Catchy from its first throes and rapaciously infectious thereon in as vocals and electronic flushes bring greater colour to its celebratory cheeks, the song had us hollering and leaping in swift time.
The album’s title track is next, Revolt Against An Age Of Plenty standing defiant against mass consumerism and its multifarious promotion with a hungrily infectious breath and a melody loaded swing. With relish and a lining in devilment which shapes the whole album, Brown stamps down another essential moment within the release before tunnelling another under the skin in the skilled shape of Losing Faith In The Wall. From its bass grumble to its crystalline jangle and electronic flumes, the song had ears gripped and appetite greedy. As with tracks before and to follow, it casts a memorable and lingering infection, its body in many ways bearing something akin to a mix of Doves and The The.
The post punk angled Giving Back Is Good For You left another indelible mark, raising the ante in temptation and devious contagion while dEBRA 2021 sees Brown bring the pop heart out of the bIG*fLAME classic and set it in a warm shimmer more akin to the likes of The Farmers Boys and The Lightning Seeds than the angular Fire Engines-esque trespass of the original; the result just as compelling.
Words On Fire aligns the punk nurtured rock of a Green Day to the swinging pop virulence of XTC, the track soon gripping favourite arousal within the record with Can You Kanreki adding its own suggestion for consideration with rapacious resourcefulness and melodic zest while sparking even keener pleasure through daring twists and turns.
If the pairing provides the ultimate peak of the album it is a level which is soon a growing plateau as A Life More Ordinary reflects on a life lived to ‘the rules’ but under greater social demands within another inescapable bout of creative catchiness and It’s A Wonderful Lie spotlights falsehood bearing political rhetoric and its deceit in a kaleidoscope of melodic and sonically virulent incitement.
My World Is Not My Own stamps its authority in sound and presence straight after, marching in with challenging hips and a voracious jangle set in nothing less than flirtatious persuasion before When Our Kingdom Comes unleashes one final flame of addiction forging pop rock around lyrical incitement. Both tracks epitomise the craft and boldness in Brown’s music and writing and the creative tapestry making up Revolt Against An Age of Plenty.
With a lengthy Songs To Die To Reprise completing the release and adding a wholly individual and rapturous flame to contemplate, Revolt Against An Age of Plenty is nothing less than superb. From the first to last second it was under the skin, drawing on familiar inspirations and forging its own uniqueness which was never found wanting in breeding new layers to the pleasure and addiction evoked. Watch out those Best of the Year lists.
Revolt Against An Age of Plenty is out now via A Turntable Friend Records; available digitally and on vinyl and CD @ https://thegreatleapforward.bandcamp.com/album/revolt-against-an-age-of-plenty
Pete RingMaster 19/08/2021
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