This is a review of "s/t" recorded by The Old House. The review was written by Sam Saunders in 2004.
Wakefield's The Old House are no ordinary band. Chris Billingham, Craig Newman Matt Knee and Paul Reid are fresh, enthusiastic and fizzing with ideas. The CD-R I have in the tray right now has four sub-three minute pop surges that sound like a first generation English punk band with loads of front and no dark side. Each tune has at least two good guitar tunes and a bundle of thrashy bits and bobs that would rattle the sideboard in any old house.
Their songs shout right in your ear, if you're ready to listen. There's no concession to being a "proper group" – they haven’t got time. They wanted to be a Coral tribute band, but couldn’t be bothered to learn the tunes. (well, that’s their story and I'm sticking to it) They wrote their own stuff. They've written them now, so now is when you're gonna hear 'em.
"Say it if you mean it" has a neat little guitar riff and a dead simple rhythm track. The title is the song. It's soap-style direct response to domestic violence. If you're going, bloody well go. End.
"I don’t need this" goes two rounds of those three pop chords on "rattly" – and then stretches 'em out for 2 minutes 48 with bundled-up bass and drumkit. A vagrant monkey riff squeaks in and out and many of the words can be heard quite clearly. Na nah nah nahn naaahh and so on.
"Oh what a shame" has a bassier feel and a strong up and downy riff "I was acting on impulse" they shout – and that's about right. A good guitar riff too with some "shame, shame shame" being yelped.
And then "Sorry Dear" starts with the heavier feel of "Oh what a shame". More shouty words and a another couple of bobbly bobbly guitar riffs. Neat.
Look, don’t get he idea that this band are going to slap your viscera. They have some acute problems in the voice and tightness departments. It really does sound like a bunch of talented beginners having a rare old time. It’s like a kid's painting – the people have only got three fingers on each hand and the legs are like long balloons – but you can see the big cheesy grin, the sky is definitely blue and there are long yellow rays coming straight out of the sun. As long as you're happy with that, then you'll love 'em and award them five and a half stars. Go ahead. I'll not complain.