Recently we received an email from our friend Julian Shah-Tayler wondering if we would be interested in having a listen to a new album he was involved with. It was called The Creation Sessions and was a 20th anniversary release of a collection of tracks his old band, drinkme, had recorded for Alan McGee, the founder of Creation Records. Our curiosity was instantly sparked and we have to say that within a single listen our pleasure was equally keenly alive.
drinkme was formed by Shah-Tayler, who soon recruited Ruth Owen, (a brilliant UN warzone journalist and exceptional songwriter), Scott Fairbrother (Spectre) and Emily Mann (supermodel guitar player), when McGee, after hearing a demo of Shah-Tayler’s track, Do You Wanna Get High?, tasked him to write and record an album for his new label Poptones. With drummer Aidan Buccheri, the band entered the Creation Studios and recorded a four track EP with a planned full-length on the horizon of the same year.
The Creation Sessions presents the EP, its tracks especially remastered, with a pair of songs recorded at the Strongroom studios later down the line and a trio of demo tracks. This is a band which “enjoyed 12 months of initial success”, indeed performing the celebrated “it girl” fashion show circuits of London, live burlesque performances and highly-coveted speakeasy events (alongside celebrity DJs such as BOY GEORGE and DEAD OR ALIVE’S PETE BURNS), but one soon splintering after a catastrophic, post-gig disagreement with the trio of Shah-Tayler, Own and Buccheri alone going on to record the album, Circular. In many ways, drinkme was a searing flash in the pan spark upon the UK indie/punk scene which, listening to The Creation Sessions, our very belated introduction to the band, was one of its unrealised brightest sparks.
The album presents those EP tracks first, the track which sparked it all into life opening up the fun. Do You Wanna Get High? is an infection loaded slice of power pop with the raw breath of punk, an essence McGee encouraged the band to embrace. From its initial lure of riffs, the track is soon swinging virulent hips and rhythmic incitement as Shah-Tayler’s vocals roused involvement as easily as its hooks and enterprise. With also sixties mod/pop and seventies glam rock hues to its inclinations, the song swiftly courted the keenest attention as it showed why McGee found himself as eagerly drawn.
Feeling Like A Boy is next up with punk ‘n’ roll instincts to the fore as it sauntered through again quickly welcoming ears. With a growl in its breath aligning perfectly with pop catchiness and indie rock imagination, the song begins revealing the variety in the band’s sound which only becomes broader and richer the further into the album you go, its successor, the highly addictive Everything’s O.K. bringing a new wave tinged rampancy to pop punk and rock antics.
Recent Shah-Tayler releases have more than shown his highly adept hand at conjuring and casting the keenest hooks and virulent enterprise and it is clear that twenty years ago he was no slow coach in springing that fertility, nor indeed was Fairbrother who wrote the EP closing New York. It is a track akin to the old school punk meets power pop exploits of bands such as THE MOTORS and The Plimsouls, with imagination grabbing twists and turns.
We Don’t Wanna Go and Addicted were recorded after the band made the album Circular, the then trio revealing a new thrust in not only their rock cured inclinations but their pop instincts too. The first of the two bursts in with its rock nostrils flared but is soon jumping around with pop energy and raucous indie punk adrenaline. The track is glorious, like a loose fusion of RABBIT JUNK and HEY! ELASTICA in a way and creatively ravenous while the second sidles in with a menacing and devious swing soaked in contagion. In no time, Owen is magnetically prowling and vocally inciting with her contemplation, guitars and rhythms weaving their own compelling arousal.
Automatic Pistol lures ears in with a calm beckoning yet there is volatility in Shah-Taylor’s breath which is soon brought to the fore by pugilistic rhythms and sonically swerving guitars. A slab of feral punk rock with the glam ferocity of a NEW YORK DOLLS, the song swiftly had its hooks in while Gun Heaven oscillated on the senses with an electro punk meets art pop serenade. Again tension and unrest lies within and erupts in sonic flames and vocal expulsions, the track a web of textures and flavours as cunning as they are compelling.
Completed by Audiology, an alternating and transfixing seduction come trespass of alt punk and noise pop which cemented our lust for the release, The Creation Sessions is one of the year’s major surprises. It may be a band you were aware of but for those of us who were in the dark, from out of the blue drinkme is a new pleasure with a release nostalgia bred but sounding as fresh as if had burst out today.
The Creation Sessions is available now as a name your price download @ https://thesingularitymusic.bandcamp.com/album/the-creation-sessions-remastered
Pete RingMaster 10/03/2023
Copyright RingMaster Review
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