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Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas! Sexy Santa Shahira Barry eyes single release

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

And thanks for visiting Still Got The Fever so often since we opened for business in July.

By way of appreciation, here’s supermodel Shahira Barry.

The 21-year-old beauty from Ireland has just appeared in a new video by chart-topper Akon.

And now she has her eye on making a single of her own.

Shahira, whose mum and gran both come from Birmingham UK jetted out to the Playboy mansion recently after a personal invitation from magazine millionaire Hugh Hefner.

But although she stripped down to a skimpy bikini for one of Hef’s infamous pool parties, she has refused to go topless.

“If all I wanted to do was model, then I would jump at the chance to do Playboy,” she says.

“But I don’t want to close any doors. I love singing, acting and dancing, and I’m afraid that posing for Playboy would close doors.”

Next up for Shahira is a  TV series called Darker Days, which cashes in on the current craze for vampire stories, fuelled by the success of Twilight.

Filmed in Ireland, Shahira plays the girlfriend of actor Mark Hutchinson. Football Factory star Danny Dyer is also in the show.

For an interview with Shahira and more photos head here.

Monday, 24 December 2012

1. Richard Hawley : Standing At The Sky's Edge

We’ve been counting down to Christmas Eve with the albums of the year. Here’s our No 1.

Richard Hawley. Safe as houses. You know exactly what you’re going to get when you buy an album by the former Pulp guitarist.

A warm, reverb-drenched baritone vocal; subtle guitar licks wrapped in the lush strings of a 38-piece orchestra; the feeling of unabashed luxury; music that caresses and cocoons.

Think again.

Because the Sheffield songwriter is mightily miffed at the state of the country. In fact, he’s so angry that he’s made a bristling, spitting rock and roll album. Yes, really.

“I needed to get away from the whole orchestra thing,” he says. “I wanted to make a record with just two guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and rocket noises.

“I felt I’d neglected my guitars for a long time. I just wanted to get them out and dust them down. Guitar is my first love and, hell, I just wanted to have some fun!

“I didn’t want to make a record that was treading water. It would have been easy to do that. There are a lot of artists who serially make the same record. It ends up cheapening the ones before, and that’s a shame.

“I didn’t want to put the pedal to the metal all the way though. It would be boring and I might be guilty of secretly wanting to be a 40 year-old guy in Spandex. Melody has to be king.

“There have always been guitar solos on my stuff before. They just weren’t quite this loud!” He’s not joking. Standing At The Sky’s Edge is angry both lyrically and musically, its songs peopled by victims of a society failed by politicians.

The title track sounds like Jim Morrison fronting Neil Young’s Crazy Horse with its overdriven grunge guitar, while Down In The Woods uses a harum scarum riff Led Zeppelin and The Who used to unleash.

She Brings The Sunlight has Eastern overtones and boasts not one, but two, incendiary guitar solos. We’d all forgotten just how good a player Hawley is, and now he reminds us.

Leave Your Body Behind You, chosen as the single, is wall of sound rock and roll riding a descending riff and ending in chaotic deconstruction.

There are mellow moments. Seek It is a lazy summer’s day of a song, and Don’t Stare At The Sun starts subtly then builds to a crescendo.

Finalé Before works the same trick, a power chord wolf in silky sheep’s clothing. Whisper it quietly, but Richard Hawley has just made the best rock album of the year.

Who could have dreamed that?

Sunday, 23 December 2012

2. Emperors Of Wyoming : Emperors Of Wyoming

We’re counting down to Christmas Eve with the albums of the year. Come back tomorrow to see what’s No 1 in our shopping list.

He has produced some of rock’s greatest albums; he has drummed up a storm on iconic hits.

He produced Nirvana’s gamechanging Nevermind, Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream, Sonic Youth’s Dirty and Green Day’s 21st Century Breakdown.

And he is, of course, the drummer on Garbage hallmark hits such as Stupid Girl, Only Happy When It Rains, Special and #1 Crush.

Now Butch Vig has gone country. Not in any yee-hah yodel sense, you understand, but in a gritty roots rock and roll sort of way.

He has teamed up with old pals Pete and Frank Anderson from Call Me Bwana and Fire Town’s Phil Davis in new band Emperors Of Wyoming.

Together, they’ve made one of the best albums of the year, a set which will appeal to anyone who ever owned a Tom Petty or Steve Earle CD.

Add Neil Young and Jack White to that list, perhaps. Yes, it’s that good.

“We wanted to mix up bluegrass, country and acoustic folk using cutting edge technology and ancient instruments,” says Vig. “Then we added rock guitar, bass and drums.

“People I’ve played it to are kind of surprised. When I say we’ve got a ‘country’ record they’re not quite sure what to expect.

“There are two schools of Nashville. There’s the old school - pedal steel guitar and twangy vocals.

“Then there’s the new school, which is more pop and can sometimes crossover to commercial radio.

“Take Taylor Swift for example. “To me she’s not country at all. She’s a pop artist, pure and simple.”

The Emperors’ eponymous debut album is anything but pop, offering credible crunch and indie appeal.

Petty-style rocker Avalanche Girl is bright rock and roll, Never Got Over You a throwback to the days when Steve Earle was “new country”.

Cornfield Palace is more direct, but in a jangly lyrical way, while Brand New Heart Of Stone is hewn from Creedence choogle. Both I’m Your Man (no, not the Wham hit) and Sweep Away smack of Exile-era Stones.

A double-header finalé rocks up 19th century Wisconsin river ballad The Pinery Boy, followed by a brooding, stormy cover version of John Martyn’s Bless The Weather.

The emperor’s new clothes never looked finer.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

3. The Civil Wars : Barton Hollow

We’re counting down to Christmas Eve with the albums of the year. Come back tomorrow to see what’s next ...

You’ve seen it before on reality TV. Struggling solo acts are paired with each other for surprising success.

It could only happen on X Factor.

Well, no actually. That’s not strictly the case. And the result doesn’t have to be mainstream manufactured Cowell clone chart pop.

Pair two credible artists and you may just end up with incredible results.

Put singer-songwriters Joy Williams and John Paul White together and you get the hottest contender yet for album of the year. Because The Civil Wars’ debut set Barton Hollow isn’t just good, it’s spine-tingling drop dead gorgeous.

Both Williams and White were battle-worn troubadours winning rave reviews but going nowhere until they separately enrolled on a songwriting camp course.

“The courses are like blind dates,” says Williams. “They are 20 or so writers. You pick straws, they pair you up, and off you go to see if you can write songs together.”

The Californian choirgirl with a love of The Beach Boys and The Carpenters found herself in a room with the Alabama rocker who liked nothing more than to holler his favourite AC/DC rock anthems. “Let’s be honest,” admits White. “Neither of us wanted to do this, but we did. We drew straws and they put us in a room. It didn’t look promising - chalk and cheese.”

But some things are meant to be.

“The very first day we started singing together, it was like we’d been doing it all our lives, “ says Williams. “When we harmonised, we each knew instinctively where the other was going. It was magical.”

So is the Americana-fuelled album, which more than matches the magic worked by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’s Raising Sand.

From respectfully retro 20 Years to folk-flavoured Birds Of A Feather, the gentle harmonies are seamless. The likes of Girl With The Red Balloon and Falling will subtly seduce your senses.

When they step up the pace, the title track nods to post-Zeppelin Page & Plant, and a bunch of bonus covers include Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean and Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me To The End Of Love.

Built from blues, country and folk, you may not hear a better album this year.

Since writing this review, of course, Civil Wars have put everything on hold, citing “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition”.

Let’s hope they resolve those differences soon.

Friday, 21 December 2012

4. Jay James Picton : Play It By Heart

We’re counting down to Christmas Eve with the albums of the year. Come back tomorrow to see what’s next ...

I first stumbled upon Jay James Picton midway through a charity album called Songs To Save A Life, designed to raise funds for The Samaritans.

The young Welshman had contributed a soul take on Carole King’s You’ve Got A Friend so impassioned that it raised the hairs on the back of your neck.

Since then, he’s hunkered down in the studio and recorded a debut album of his own songs, winning big name fans such as The Who’s Roger Daltrey, Booker T Jones, John Legend and Hal David (he of Bacharach & David fame).

All of which is remarkable when you consider that five years ago, he hadn’t sung a note.

He was a PE teacher with the Royal Navy until an injury sustained in a rugby match left him on the sidelines.

One drunken New Year’s Eve he spotted a cheap five-string guitar in a shop window, bought it on impulse and taught himself to play. “I didn’t really listen to music when I was growing up,” he admits. “I wasn’t into music at all, up until five years ago.
“I messed my knee up, got drunk on a night out with the lads and bought this guitar, which I promptly consigned to a cupboard.

“But I’d played sport everyday of my life so it was a massive thing not to be able to work out or take part. I was a bit lost and needed something to focus on, and that’s why I decided to learn to play the guitar.

“I started humming along and then singing along as I was just trying to keep the rhythm. It all happened really quickly and out of the blue, to be honest. Suddenly I realised that I could sing.

“Writing came a little later because I’ve not been very good at expressing myself. Generally I don’t read books and I’m not very good at English so writing is not something I’d ever done, to be honest with you.”

All the more remarkable, then, that Play It By Heart isn’t just a good album.

It's almost the best album of the year.

With a soulful vocal that somehow blends old school class with indie credibility, he’s the male Amy Winehouse.

It’s an album of contrasts, too.

Opening with a spluttering rock guitar chord and the sparse soundscape of Another Man, it ends in The Boy That Wants To Fly, which is surely a Bond movie theme in the waiting.

The title track will delight both Stax soul collectors and the urban R&B crowd, a companion perhaps to Adele’s Rolling In The Deep, while the gossamer Spiders would sit comfortably with anything by Chris Martin or Damien Rice.

Best is Gravity, an utterly gorgeous love song which boasts an irresistible hook. You won’t hear much better.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

5. Andy Flannagan : Drowning In The Shallow

We’re counting down to Christmas Eve with the albums of the year. Come back tomorrow to see what’s next ...

Visit the Houses of Parliament and odds are you’ll spot Andy Flannagan.

The former NHS hospital doctor is a political protest campaigner with a knack of getting himself heard.

No surprise, then, that he’s also a storyteller and a songwriter.

But who would have thought he’d record an album that may just be the best you’re likely to hear all year?

Drowning In The Shallow is a gorgeous set of songs drawn both from personal loss and the ills of society.

But where the likes of Billy Bragg tend to be strident, Flannagan’s musical mood is mellow, the bite hidden in the lyrics to catch you unawares.

“There are themes of broken places, things and people, including me,” he says. “The thread that runs through the songs is inspiring people doing inspiring things in difficult places.

“You’ll hear about folks who have given of their lives in the toughest parts of this planet, from Chennai in India to an orphanage in Uganda.

“One person who truly inspired me is Mick Duncan. He gave up a life in New Zealand to go and live amongst slum dwellers in the Philippines.

“I remember something his daughter said when they came back.

“‘What’s it like being in the middle of all that poverty?’ she was asked. ‘I never saw any poverty. I just saw my friends,’ she replied.

“Could we be the generation that doesn’t have to start lots of projects to connect with and help the poor, needy and marginalised among us, but we help them simply because they’re our neighbours?”

Flannagan’s use of acoustic guitar and cello has prompted Damien Rice comparisons, but they’re wide of the mark. His gentle vocal sets him alongside
the likes of Martyn Joseph.

The title track is drop dead gorgeous, while Addictions is a wry look at a dysfunctional society where we’d rather watch TV than talk.

But it’s two tales of tragedy that inspire the highlights here.

Fragile, remembering friends killed in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, is deeply moving. And I Will Not Be Leaving, about Joseph, a baby boy left alone for days at birth, has a desperate beauty to it.

Flannagan is setting out on his ‘Invisible Tour’, playing hospices, prisons and homeless shelters for free, bringing hope where it’s in short supply.

It’s typical of the man. Like the album, just what the doctor ordered.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

6. Luke White : Outside In

We’re counting down to Christmas Eve with the albums of the year. Come back tomorrow to see what’s next ...

Used to be you couldn’t find enough half-decent singer-songwriters to fill up the Brit Awards shortlist.

Now they’re a ten-a-penny and the problem is more sorting out the wheat from the chaff.

For every moment of rare wonder, there are hours of wellmeaning but weary navel-gazing.

Tom Baxter, Duke Special, Scott Matthews and David Ford have all been essential. Ed Sheeran has grabbed the genre by the scruff of the neck and dragged it into the charts.

Now step forward Luke White, who combines singer-songwriter sensibilities with widescreen pop, and somehow makes the mainstream deeper.

Musically, think Turin Brakes meets ABC. And, indeed, the young British singer’s voice recalls that of Brakes’ Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian, which, of course, is no bad thing.

And then, there’s the fact that each and every track – bar a couple of brief instrumental links – boasts a barbed hook that lodges in the back of your consciousness and refuses to let go.

Typical is Black Market Red Roses, a song about the lengths to which lovers will go, which opens like U2 with a gently insistent beat, building to a credible indie pop romance.

Made Of Love, chosen as the debut single – last year’s EP The Performing Man was just a taster – and already winning fans on youtube, is a song Chris Martin would kill for.

Opening with 80s retro synth and reverb guitar, it’s lush pop with a seductive chorus and the chance for White to dust off his guitar.

Waiting To Say Goodbye takes it back to piano-vocal basics, as does Don’t Be Worried (Light Will Find You), the latter currently being championed by Coldplay’s hypnofeed. Stay Young boasts gorgeous guitar licks, and Stupid Kind Of Love is the sort of thing that Crowded House’s Neil Finn used to do so capably.

The album title comes from the lyric of Maybe She Is Magic, a song that’s more mainstream than most, and may well put you in mind of Jocasta cult classic Inside Out.

If there are weaknesses, they show up in Goodbye Skin, which tends toward blandness before saving itself at the close.

Best of the bunch is She’s A Dancer which nods to Turin Brakes circa Ether Song, but may just be better even than that...

All white, indeed.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

7. The Gaslight Anthem : Handwritten

We’re counting down to Christmas Eve with the albums of the year. Come back tomorrow to see what’s next!

It’s been awhile since Gaslight Anthem frontman Brian Fallon broke news of the band’s new album. It was November 16, 2010 to be precise, shortly after soundchecking at Nottingham’s Rock City.

It’s taken awhile, too, thanks to the Stateside band’s workaholic touring schedule, and the desire to follow up big-selling American Slang with something that wasn’t just a by the numbers soundalike sequel.

After coming off the road, Fallon unplugged his internet modem, sequestered himself in his New Jersey home, read the poetry of T.S. Eliot and put pen to paper, writing lyrics in a dog-eared notebook.

It’s no bad thing being compared with Springsteen, of course, and the band were happy to play dates with The Boss. Fallon regularly used to get up and duet on his superstar pal’s Glory Days.

But you can have too much of a good thing. Fallon was getting a little weary of reviews which routinely name-checked Bruce. He wanted to move the band on to pastures that weren’t lined with dusty roads.

“This is the record I would want next, if I were a fan,” he says. “American Slang was cool, but this sounds like a band that’s plugged back into the electric socket again.

“For the first time, I’m not scared that people aren’t going to like this record. I don’t care what Bruce Springsteen or Eddie Vedder or any of my friends think of it.

“I don’t care. If you want to hang with us, you’ve got to grow with us. That’s the deal.”

The Springsteen nods may continue on the likes of Mulholland Drive and driving stadium rock and roller 45, but Handwritten and Keepsake have more of a Tom Petty feel to them.

Here Comes My Man, with its singalong sha-la-la chorus, suggests Fallon has at least one Counting Crows album in his collection.

But Too Much Blood, whose classic rock riff recalls either Free or Soundgarden, depending how old you are, is the heaviest track the Anthem have recorded.

Howl is a razor-sharp rocker, short, sharp and sweet; Biloxi Parish boasts another anthemic chorus; Desire’s guitar chugs like Foo Fighters.

The album closes with gentle Mae and the poignant acoustic National Anthem, a bare bones tale of heartache.

You have to hand it to ‘em.

Monday, 17 December 2012

8. Diana Krall : Glad Rag Doll

We’re counting down to Christmas Eve with the albums of the year. Come back tomorrow to see what’s next!

Phew! What a scorcher. Demure Diana Krall has turned Roaring 20s torch singer, complete with basque, suspenders and stockings.

And it’s not just the controversial cover shot that will send temperatures soaring. Because this is the fabulous 47-year-old jazz chanteuse as you’ve never heard her before.

Forget the usual lush orchestrations, the shimmering strings, the minimalist piano ballads. Diana has stripped down for some retro rock and roll rooted in songs caught out of time.

“As a little girl, I fell in love with the songs of the 1920s,” she reveals. “Two years ago I recorded some of them in the studio by myself. But then I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend the next couple of years doing solo shows.

“I decided I’d like to try something different, sing those songs without making a nostalgia record, or a traditional jazz record. I wanted to treat them as if they were new.

“So I called T-Bone.”

That’s as in T-Bone Burnett, the maverick guitarist, songwriter and producer whose retro roster most recently included the heavenly union of unlikely bedfellows Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.

In turn, he brought guitar genius Marc Ribot to the table, pulled together a stellar band and sent Diana in directions she’d never dreamed of.

“I knew T-Bone would bring something unique to it with the artists that he chose,” says Diana.

“I’m not saying the original recordings weren’t good, but there was definitely more creative imagining involved in this than with the songs from the Great American Songbook that I’ve done.”

So There Ain’t No Sweet Man That’s Worth The Salt Of My Tears acquires sputtering electric guitar, I’m A Little Mixed Up steps to rock and stroll and the title track is informed by Ribot’s razor-sharp stainless steel licks.

Ev’ry Thing’s Made For Love is playful pastiche straight off Boardwalk Empire – you expect Nucky Thompson to join in – and We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye will delight everyone who bought Hugh Laurie’s Let Them Talk blues roots album.

Best is Lonely Avenue on which Krall’s croon, as silky as those stockings, soothes underlying fractured feedback guitar grumble.

Diana never looked, or sounded, better. This will blow your socks off.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

9. Stone Sour : House Of Gold & Bone Part 1

We’re counting down to Christmas Eve with the albums of the year. Visit tomorrow to see what the next one will be.

Never been sure about Stone Sour, the part-time plaything of Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor.

And when Taylor announced that the band’s new outing, House Of Gold And Bones, would be a concept piece spread across two consecutive albums, alarm bells began ringing.

When he added that the exercise would be something “like Pink Floyd’s The Wall meets Alice in Chains’s Dirt” it was time to start digging the escape tunnel.

All of which proves just how wrong you can be.

Because Part 1, released this week, may just be the best metal album since Metallica took a shine to the colour black.

Like James Hetfield & Co did on the ‘black’ album, fed up that their thrash metal wasn’t selling by the shedload, Taylor’s moshpit marauders have dipped a sizeable toe in the mainstream.

And the result is startling. Startingly, jaw-droppingly good.

Sure, the Slipknot purists will hate it. You can already hear the sound of knives being sharpened.

Because, although the requisite riffs are here, shouty, growly and gruesome this is not.

Some of it turns out to be so radio-friendly that it’ll leap off your iPod and give you a hug.

It’s a balancing act to rival Nik Wallenda’s walk earlier this year along that tightrope across Niagara Falls.

The album opens with the double whammy of Gone Sovereign and Absolute Zero – already familiar to the faithful as singles released this year – both of which are reminiscent of Metallica at their best.

They ride precision rock riffs tooled by Josh Rand and James Root, with David Bottrill’s production bringing out buttock-clenching bass and bombshell drums. Taylor’s vocal is surprisingly melodic, even when he offers token gruff grumble.

A Rumor Of Skin is brutally efficient, sparsely simple. Then The Travelers Pt 1 offers pause to get your breath back, its acoustic strum and sweeping strings suggesting that it may well turn out a solo spot in concert.

It leads into Tired, a track made for rock radio, and one which has already come in for criticism from metalhead diehards. Okay, so it’s a bit Nickelback in places, but you can’t have everything.

The following RU486 will do much to restore tunnel vision faith. It’s a ferocious sonic shockwave, with a machine gun riff, Rachel Bolan’s burly bass and some of the most brutal drumming you’ll hear this side of a steel foundry, courtesy of Roy Mayorga.

My Name Is Allen is more by the numbers, more effective filler than anything you’ll find at B&Q, then Taciturn is a huge rock ballad, opening solo and unplugged but building to a crescendo with satisfying guitar crunch.

Influence Of A Drowsy God flirts with prog-rock before The Travelers Pt 2 beefs up its earlier namesake, and the album ends with Last Of The Real – another steroidal stomp to please the purists.

But there’s more to Taylor’s latest brainchild than that. The album comes complete with a short story, in which the plot thickens, and a four-part comicbook series with Dark Horse is planned.

Then there’s the album sleeve itself, which opens out as if it wants to be a 3D cardboard sculpture but with tabs that don’t connect. Odds are that when Part 2 arrives in 2013 it’ll all, quite literally, come together.

Friday, 14 December 2012

10. Bruce Springsteen : Wrecking Ball

We’re counting down to Christmas Eve with the albums of the year. Visit tomorrow to see what the next one will be.

Bruce Springsteen is back and he’s madder than hell.

His 17th album is the angriest he’s ever recorded.

After the Obama optimism that permeated feelgood Working On A Dream, he feels bitterly betrayed. Springsteen lambasts the politicians, the businessmen and the bankers who have left working men struggling to survive the recession.

And although there’s no E Street explosion, no Seeger Sessions smiles, musically little new, it’s a potent brew.

Inevitably, the shadow of the late Clarence Clemons stretches across the album, which is dedicated to the Big Man of the E Street Band.

He appears on two songs: the title track, which recalls Springsteen’s Born To Run era, and Land Of Hope And Dreams - a live set staple since 2000 but laid down in the studio just last year.

Opener We Take Care Of Our Own sounds like a flagwaving anthem until a twist of the knife changes everything, demanding answers.

Where’s the work, the spirit, the promise, Springsteen demands?

What the hell went wrong? Just like Born In The USA fooled Reagan into adopting the anti-war song, it’s a clever conceit.

The theme runs through Easy Money, in which he gets a gun, and album standout Jack Of All Trades, where he wants to shoot the bastards.

It’s not all successful. You’ve Got It is makeweight retro rock and roll, and the jury’s out on the rap in gospel-grown Rocky Ground.

Folk-fuelled finalé We Are Alive brings all the elements together, Springsteen the storyteller, the blue collar Boss, even a hint of Johnny Cash classic Ring Of Fire.

The latter opens in Woody Guthrie-style Americana before adding rock and roll guitar, and was huge in Hyde Park this Summer.

Wrecking Ball doesn’t have immediate impact but repeat plays reap rewards, always the sign of a great album.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Paul McCartney and Nirvana at the Sandy gig - video

There was a lot of hype – the astonishment, the shock, the outrage.

Courtney Love said it might have been OK if John Lennon had still been alive and fronted the reunion.

But Paul McCartney?

Take a look and see what you think. We reckon it could have been far worse.

They might have done Hey Jude, for a start ...

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

11. The Unthanks : Diversions Vol. 3 - Songs From The Shipyards

We’re counting down to Christmas Eve with the albums of the year. Visit tomorrow to see what the next one will be.

Northumberland folkies The Unthanks launch the soundtrack to a documentary about the lost shipyards of the North East, and it’s spine-tingling.

Rachel and Beverly Unthank’s ethereal vocals are like ghosts haunting the graveyard of a once great trade, set against the rhythms and sounds of the past.

 Often with bare piano backing, songs such as Black Trade and Rudyard Kipling’s Big Steamers transcend folk and sail into contemporary waters, with a cover of Elvis Costello’s Shipbuilding successfully moored alongside.

An unexpected delight.

12. The Getaway Plan : Requiem

Starting today we’re counting down to Christmas Eve with the 12 best albums of the year. There’ll be one each day until December 24.

Sometimes the best laid plans go awry. One moment The Getaway Plan was Australia’s most exciting band, ready to outstrip the likes of INXS and AC/DC.

Four years ago they jetted to Florida to make a debut album which won rave reviews, shot into the charts, and won them stadium support slots with My Chemical Romance.

Then they abruptly split, and went their separate ways with a clutch of so-so solo efforts. End of story.

Until now, that is.

Spurred by the plight of young fans in the recession, the band reformed for a charity gig and an under-age festival in 2010, expecting them to be one-offs.

But they enjoyed it so much that they decided to put their differences aside, and do it all over again.

Cue Requiem, The Getaway Plan’s sophomore set – four years late.

“It’s pretty rare for a band to vanish for a couple of years and then come back and take off where they were,” says drummer Aaron Barnett.

“And it feels great man, it’s really good. It’s been a long time coming for us.

“You’re a bit sceptical – you don’t know how any album is going to go really – and coming back was nerve-racking. You never know if your old fans are going to be around, or if new ones are going to take to the new material.

“But we knew we had a solid record. We think it’s the best stuff we’ve written. We couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

Musically, Requiem suggests that the band can give the likes of Muse and Thirty Seconds To Mars a run for their megabucks.

It’s melodic but with a hard rock foundation. Frontman Matthew Wright has an infectious voice and his keyboards inform most tracks before Clint Ellis’ edgy guitar starts building metal muscle.

It’s radio-friendly stadium rock.

But most importantly it has big songs. Two of them, in fact.

While the rest of the album is good, both Move Along and Coming Home are great.

US TV producers will be queuing up to use the former in the hottest network shows. It has that sort of appeal.

The song ticks all the boxes – pop dressed as metal, a soaring chorus, FM radio guitars and mobiles in the air anthemic appeal.

The latter, with its string soundwash, just needs to be paired with video of troops coming home from the front line (although it’s not about that, as such) and it will do the same job that The Cars’ Drive did for Live Aid.

Driving opener the Reckoning has been chosen as the initial UK single and has a harder edge, suggesting it will be one to reckon with live.

It will be boosted by a disturbing and controversial video featuring Lord Of The Flies-style feral children making a sacrifice of one of their own in the woods – and burning down a church.

Although it hardly reflects the band’s personality, it’s a compelling view.

But it’s surely only a matter of time before record label bosses move along to that worldwide hit in the waiting.