Not every record you spin is freshly pressed. Sometimes you find something in your attic that just isn’t available anywhere else. Even after a couple of decades, you just want to share it. Today, I’m sharing a record from the nineties from a band called Alias titled Goachead.
So, who are Alias? They are a four piece (plus one more when joined by an acoustic guitar) consisting of drums, bass, guitar, and a multi-instrumentalist on keyboard, flute, and trumpet. Part James, part Levellers, part Deacon Blue with an indie twist.
The punchy social commentary of ‘What’s Gone Wrong’ gives us all of this aforementioned musical bliss, a teaser of an intro that swirls in and blasts off with crunchy guitars and huge trumpet hook. The bass guitar has a distinctive trebly tone that locks into a drum sound that’s woody and rich. It’s as fresh today as it was on release, perhaps more so in a week that sees billionaires desperate to be the first rich white dude in space.
The jabs keep cutting through the defenses, the melodic layers of ‘Charity’ not remotely dulling the words as they slice through. The richness of ‘Away So Long’ is exhibited through a series of moments; the gentle verse flows into the ‘all for nothing’ bridge a couple of times before the chorus hits. The chorus is stuttered and pushes us into a giant trumpet solo and a final choral cry.
There’s plenty more where this came from. ‘Equality’, pogos us into a smart melody-hits-massive-chorus combination. This song is reminiscent of absent hit ‘Gameplan’, a song that would have easily snuck into this play list.
There are unpredictable elements too. ‘Meet My Need’ has funky moments and a big bass line to drive the verse, before there’s a deep breath and another huge chorus. Also adding something unusual, ‘Bon Voyage’ flicks between a bright verse and megaphonic chorus.
A special mention must to go to the emotive and sparse ‘Tame’. This is a song that gets its hooks into you, once heard never forgotten. The trumpet haunts the latter moments, muted and plaintive.
Every element of this album has been nailed. Musically there’s a ton of interesting stuff going on, but the wealth of ideas and instrumentation never detracts from the songs, which are all top-shelf. Equally, there are hooks everywhere you look, but all absolutely belong in each track they hang from. Even in the sections with every instrument contributing, everything comes through with stunning clarity.
This is a true classic. An album that should be spoken of in the hushed and reverand tones. It has, though, fallen into that crack of pre-digital gems that hasn’t so much been forgotten at it has been consigned to the collection for which we have no device to play the media. I bought it on tape and then I bought it on CD, but it is unavailable on current music platforms. For now at least.
Tim. Jodie. Steve. Dodger. Please hear our plea to digitise this perfect album!