Album Review – Fame To The Nation.
Adorn your top hat and follow Alec and Alex down a theatrical rabbit hole of musical intrigue. This West Midlands duo are taking a trip into a funfair of frivolities with a totally unique, surreal and alternative punk approach to their production. An ideation that began as a mere party piece between two friends, a collaboration with neither no real purpose nor plan. Though just like the fabled Alice, Needle Poppet’s curiosity got the better of them and along with a growing following a twisted journey into a warped but wonderful wonderland began.
Needle Poppet’s first album release ‘FAME TO THE NATION’ is just a little different. In fact so different it is like nothing I have ever listened to before. It polarises music by bringing together fantastically creative and uplifting instrumentals wrote with the grace of a concert pianist amidst the madness and mayhem of a deranged circus master leading a loony bin. Needle Poppet’s takes you on a musical adventure where you are met by a drunken; depressed and failed clown, a deceased whore and a seedy sordid underworld of morbid massage parlours. On first listen you are caught between trying to rationalise its pretence and admire its prowess. And this is the first mistake you will make as you cannot judge this with a normal musical approach. You cannot classify its origin or define its labels when drawing your conclusions on this album. Just admire its existence and beleaguered beauty as there is still a lot to be taken extremely seriously. Alec Bonds piano compositions are enthralling and captivating and when addressed with his more personal and relatable feelings, his songs become instantly catchy.
The show opener ‘THE GRIND’, is a rip roaring first track and an insight too into the duo’s moral rejection of normality and the quest for a life with deeper meaning. The next two tracks, ‘STARSTRUCK’ and ‘STAGESIDE’ are also two album contenders in my opinion. Alex Jones is as audibly stunning as she is to look at. Her impeccable pixie like time keeping and vocal harmony is used to its greatest effects as two beautiful and somewhat more soulful tracks show off the duo’s more conventionally recognised skills of song writing. The album bows out on a high also. SPARKY is a mesmerising piano bashing end to a fanfare of an album. A tale that depicts a musicians search for fame and how a living persona of his piano helps him accomplish his dream before his ego tarnishes the relationship and spoils success.
Some musicians stand artistically loyal towards their inspiration and muse, defiantly rejecting the temptation to stray in any aspect from their passion and creation. Not for the possible lure of potential gains in a difficult industry or to widen a captive market do they move from their motivation. There is no greater example of this than the Needle Poppet’s. They do something totally out of the box. What they create is a sum total of all they are. A collection of all they find inspiring and displayed in a means to which only Needle Poppet’s could create. It is a musical montage. For want of a better comparison it is also musical marmite. Unlike marmite I would strongly advise you indulge. Needle poppets may well be forging an entirely new emerging genre of their own, but for now you will surely watch them grow in esteem in the realms of the steam punk revolution.
Review by R.T.S Grainger