Graham Day - The Master Of None (Countdown Records)

Graham Day – The Master Of None (Countdown Records)

Is it really a valid criticism to say an artist sounds too much like themselves? Probably not, especially when that artist is Graham Day, previously frontman for the eighties beat combo The Prisoners, whom, whether he’s fed up or not of the fact being wheeled out on a seemingly daily basis, were famously Steve Lamacq‘s favourite band.

The Master Of None, it will come as no surprise to learn, is an album full of punchy, raw garage rock and most palatable at face level. It’s just that, listening to it, it’s almost like the last 55 years never happened.

Does that matter? Well no, not entirely, as tracks like ‘Out Of Your Narrow Mind‘ come across like a bastardised mash-up of The Kinks‘ ‘All Day And All Of The Night‘ and The Who‘s ‘I Can’t Explain‘ while the title track ‘The Master Of None‘ is somewhere between The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Mamas and the Papas and Count Five. I think what I am trying to get across here is that these are clearly extremely well-written songs that probably would have all been huge singles in the mid-1960s. Of course, None of this will in any way shock fans of Day’s old band because… because… Well, let’s be honest, it’s essentially a new Prisoners record in all but name. Like them, The Master Of None is steeped in the sound of the famous Nuggets compilations. A classic set, I’m sure you’ll agree, but there’s just something in the back of my mind yelling “mix it up a bit will you!” as the record plays.

So, I’m conflicted here. These are all very good songs, yet there’s precious little variation. Even ‘Eyes Are Upon You‘, which oddly reminds me a little of The Searchers‘ version of ‘Love Potion no. 9‘, is ramped up to the gnarliest of levels. Clearly, Day is an excellent songwriter, singer and musician (I guess we already knew that) but I kind of wish there was some exploration of different genres, which is at least touched on in ‘Don’t Hide Away‘ where the cap doffing appears to be more in the direction of bands whose sounds were rich in rhythm and blues, such as Spencer Davis Group or Cream, rather than the aforementioned Nuggets bunch.

In short, if you love the music of the sixties, The Master Of None, to you, will be an absolute dream. Every song is worthwhile, yet I’m still left with the nagging feeling that I want something more. It’s probably better than the ‘7’ rating I’ve given it, but hey, I have to stick with my gut.

The Master Of None is out now on Countdown Records.

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