Phoenix Road : The Mountaineer
The reason I bore you with all this nostalgia is that one of the bands involved has, to keep the Biblical metaphor going, been resurrected. Rising from the ashes of past glories come Phoenix Road, featuring the song writing skills of Tom Hinton, whose band Autumn Stone's mix of wistful melancholy and pop nous graced our first ever record. 'The Mountaineer' displays the same ear for melody, the same song writing prowess and the same love of 60s jangle pop and C86 ethos with a modicum of Mod that marked out his earlier work. To make the links with the past even closer, the album also features Jason Baldock of Freeboy, whose trademark drumming, bass playing, backing vocals and production style give the record an energy, an integrity and professional sheen we wouldn't have dreamed of while stamping messy monkeys*** and (mad) sheep onto slabs of black vinyl all those years ago.
And back then, in our naïve youth, did we think we'd still be doing this mad music malarky a quarter of a century on? Maybe not, and maybe we'd have laughed at oldies doing so, but I am very glad that we are. Otherwise I'd not be listening to this, cheering up a wet and wild Swansea morning. This record is an enjoyable testament to the enduring power of a good tune, limitless enthusiasm and a love affair with pop, a testament that time can't dim.
The Mountaineer is available from Alley Cat Records and good indie record shops. Launch gig at The Portland Arms, December 1st 2019.