Friday, March 18, 2011

Highly touted Brit band The Hours tours U.S.

This album is one of the best I've heard this month and the shows are surely not to be missed. I recall seeing them years ago in the Mescaleros and was impressed. Here's the official background that came across my desk...

Having served time in some of the most esteemed UK bands, singer-songwriter-guitarist Antony Genn (Pulp, Elastica) and multi-instrumentalist Martin Slattery (Shaun Ryder's Black Grape) don't waste time wallowing in Britpop history, but rather keen to add to it with their band, The Hours

Their first stateside album, It's Not How You Start, It's How You Finish, was recently released on Adeline Records, and now, Genn and Slattery are prepping to make their inaugural appearances on U.S. soil as The Hours.

The duo's impressive pedigree extends to The Mescaleros, which they formed with then-former Clash frontman Joe Strummer in 1999. But it was Patti Smith who incited the formation of The Hours. While at her concert at Royal Festival Hall, Genn found himself newly inspired to create. "From the opening bars of her first song you could feel it," says Genn. "She came onstage and she was so potent and visceral and vital and honest and true and it was all blood and guts and spew and she looked so cool... she kind of reminded me of Strummer - that spirit of punk rock. In that very moment, I thought to myself, 'I gotta write some songs that are honest blood and guts on the floor.'"

Genn contacted Slattery and shortly thereafter came "Ali In The Jungle," which they wrote in merely a couple of hours. As the intro track on It's Not How You Start, It's How You Finish, the song is a window allowing us to peer into the stadium-worthy, 11-song collection brimming with impassioned, pop-rock anthems that follow.

"Their songs rollercoast along on jagged guitars and whipcracking snare drums, or beautiful, shimmering pianos," wrote UK publication The Guardian. "But their most arresting quality is a sense - not least in Genn's soul-baring lyrics - of musicians who have taken the knocks but are now putting every last emotion and sinew into a death-or-glory assault on pop's heavyweight title."

The Hours instantly resonated with their peers, including Bono who sang their praises on Radio One, as well as Jarvis Cocker, then quickly grew to include
the controversial post-modern artist Damien Hirst. He was inspired to develop a clock's-eyed skull "logo" for The Hours' albums and on-stage set; he later went on to release their music on his own label, thrusting his full support behind the group.

"Damien is an incredible creative force," offers Slattery. "He's got an incredible energy and we're lucky to be around that on loads of levels." Other supporters include Flood, who lent his production prowess to the band's sophomore See The Light album.

The Hours, having toured with Oasis and Kasabian and served as opener for U2's UK tour dates, are now ready to make their U.S. debut.

Tour dates:
March 22            New York City             Mercury Lounge
March 24            Los Angeles                Bootleg Theatre


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