Let me begin by saying that if you want to listen to an album with deep, mature lyrics and intriguingly original music; then The Blackout’s Start The Party is the wrong record to pick, although the name should suggest this to you already! However, if you are looking for some ballsy party tunes that will hit you like a punch in the face, then you are most definitely in the right place.
The album opens with the title track, Start The Party; which is an upbeat and catchy crowd-pleaser that has already been played everywhere since its release in September. This song uses a mixture of gang chants, memorable lyrics and a repetitive rhythm, which can get stuck in your head for days (as I found out from a couple of listens). It’s the sort of track that would accompany anyone doing something stupid for laughs, which may well explain why the lads chose to feature Dirty Sanchez star Matthew Pritchard in the video.
Most of the album continues in a similar manner, with a mixture of enjoyment, rebellion and a ‘fuck you’ attitude conveyed through the hard hitting music. The powerful vocal performance between two front-men Sean Smith and Gavin Butler is particularly showcased in We Live On, Take Away The Misery and Let Me Go, and I guess this partnership is largely what makes the band so appealing to the general public; they are the sort of band that you can see and participate with.
In the second half of the album, there are a few softer tracks that may disappoint those hoping for a purely all out party album; however I like that the lads have opted to show they haven’t entirely ditched the mature side that came across on their last full length offering, Hope. Although tracks Keep Singing and You are slower paced, they offer a cheerful break from the screaming, chanting and excitement of earlier tracks. Weirdly there’s something about the guitars and vocals in Keep Singing that reminds me of Pride (In The Name Of Love) by U2 and there’s a beautiful vocal moment in only ballad You, where they emphasise the word ‘nothing’ in a way that would make Frank Turner proud.
For those who dislike the softer side, there is another handful of yet more party anthems in this second half of the album; for example,Running Scared, which is a track with rapidly chugging guitars reminiscent to Bleeding Heart Baby by Head Automatica.
Penultimate track Sleep When You’re Dead is a sexy rock and roll track, perhaps the sort of song that you’d play towards the end of a night when everyone has had a fair few drinks. Here the band tell the tale of the advantages to the glamourous side of touring; drinking, partying and having fun and not worrying about the consequences.
The final track Throw It All Away is the opposite side of the coin to Sleep When You’re Dead. It’s as though after all the positivity and fun that has been offered, they try to ease the listener back into the real world. It shows that despite all the fun that can be had whilst in a band, it’s not always glam. As much as people say they would love a rock and roll lifestyle, it is difficult; being constantly on the road, missing family and friends, working hard all hours of the day and keeping up the appearance of whatever the media expects you to be. Despite the almost pessimistic vibe to this track, it is truthful and shows that these guys have truly grown up.
These cheeky welsh chappies have created an album full of fun and energy which shines like a rare spot of sunshine in these dark winter months, and reminds you in general to not to take life too seriously. After all, you’re only young once.