Orphan Boy - Shop Local

Paul Cook 15/04/2008

Rating: 4/5

Orphan Boy are Grimsby's answer to the musical explosion happening further south in Sheffield, Leeds and London. Although Manchester's The Courteeners are making the headlines at the moment, Orphan Boy certainly have something that's likely to stir things up a bit in the north. An aggressive, 80's mod sound fills the record and varying styles of vocals pepper the album with touches of The Jam, The Clash and The Libertines. Energy and intensity is abundant and song-writing talent is obvious in the thirteen tracks that comprise the band's debut album Shop Local.

Opening number, Kick Junk is a tamer, blues-tainted track with a slowly building, simplistic riff. The vocals are Paul Weller all-over with the attitude and aggression that the album becomes distinguishable by. The track isn't as exciting as some of the other tracks on the album, lacking that final drive and ambitious chorus which is a quality of recent releases Satellites and Middle Class Roots. Both of these tracks adopt the arrogant, show-off vocal style but Middle Class Roots is certainly a stronger track lyrically and instrumentally with an infectious fast-paced opening verse and catchy chorus. The lyrics and the intro' sound like they belong on Favourite Worst Nightmare with an emphasis on the accent that gives the record that British authenticity which has made the likes of all the aforementioned bands so successful and admired by the population.

Although it's quite an old phrase to use but some tracks unfortunately just sound like a lot of noise. Alderly Edge is the weakest of the tracks on the album as it is barely possible to distinguish the vocals from the guitars and drums. None of the elements stand out as being anything other than an over the top variation of the others. The Salesman is next up and although the lyrics are erring on the side of lack lustre the instrumentals are not too dissimilar from a Babyshambles or Libertines track, angry and raw and altogether quite promising. Trophies of Love is also a Pete Doherty inspired creation, vocally driven and edgy in its own indie-rock fashion. Flicknife won't be to everyone's tastes, with its heavy opening and emphatically aggressive and somewhat repetitive riff. Lokomotive Blue is by far the strangest track on the album with a gothic church organ playing a rather dooming minute-long introduction before the track goes dead and starts back up again with a slowly plucked rhythm and folksy lyrics. The last two tracks Mr Stevens and the eponymous Orphan Boy are both solid tracks also, the first soaring to a powerfully catchy chorus and the latter dancing between the playful bass line and onslaught of wailing guitars. Orphan Boy are destined for big things according to Radio 1's Steve Lamacq and Zane Lowe and on this evidence they could be on the money. Minus the heavy, OTT filler tracks debut album Shop Local is a fantastic first effort from the Grimsby three-piece.

Shop Local is out now.