Alfa 9 hail from Newcastle, which is looking a little parched on the cover art for their new album My Sweet Movida. Indeed, there’s quite a country vibe here, rendered by the quartet with high-as-a-kite psych leanings. Between the genre mixing, singing styles, melodies and production, it’s a pan-decade, transatlantic rock haze.
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As anyone who reads these ramblings regularly will know, I'm a massive fan of Alfa Romeos especially the 'sud'.... to a point where I stopped a man in a petrol recently to talk about his perfectly maintained model. Therefore I thought I'd give this album by Newcastle-Under-Lyme quartet Alfa a go. You never know - it might make good driving music.
I reckon you could drive to this. It's dusty Americana that has that thing where English bands try to sound American. They never quite get there as there's something just not as twangy about it as our American cousins. The vocal harmonies have lots of Byrds-like closeness to them especially on 'Different Corner' which also has lashings of 12 string guitar. The difference in guitar tones is something that separates the good from the indifferent here. I almost blew my head gasket when they brought out the wah-wah on the opening 'Smile Dog' but the textures on 'Different Corner' are much more up my street.
Like the Hanging Stars this lot do this sort of stuff pretty well. It's melodic, tough as teak jangle rock with nods to those folks in the 1980s who remembered that the 60s were quite good. I'm thinking the Long Ryders, the Del Fuegos that lot. There's always been a soft spot in my heart for this kind of thing possibly as a result of playing Del Fuegos tapes in my dad's Alfasud when I was a child.
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- My Sweet Movida by Alfa 9
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