After commencing his musical endeavours in early 2014, Nick Aslam has since gone through a few different monikers on his route to asserting himself as a prominent Singer/Songwriter in the busy Northern(ish) scene. Sticking with the ‘Rebel City Revival’ suffix, his latest offering highlights a broad palette of melodic abilities.
Who is this Nick Aslam then? He’s a hungry young songwriter hailing from the darkest depths of a council estate in Burton on Trent, and he’s been ensnaring a steadily growing following since his debut. The rest of the band currently consists of Jack Thorp (Lead Guitar), James Dixon (Bass), and Danny Alton (Drums).
Influences, heroes, and personal music icons consist of a celebrated bunch, ranging from the likes of the Gallagher brothers and Paul Weller, to KISS and Led Zeppelin. Indeed, in some of Aslam’s cleaner acoustic tunes, Noel’s influence is very prominent, with a prime example being ‘The Worlds End’…
‘Clowns n’ Guns’ introduces itself with a foreboding and simple series of bass notes, and an accompanying salvo of clean, bouncy guitar tones. This concise greeting builds anticipation, something which is also attempted by Aslam’s complex lyrical structure; establishing internal rhymes with the bars of the song is a tricky feat, and while the song manages to adhere to this structure, the lyrics themselves suffer slightly as a result. You can easily understand what was intended here – but I’m afraid the allowances made for a flowing barrage of lyrics do detract from the narrative coherence of the tune. But then again, not every track needs to tell an intricate story, hence this point is a minor one.
The initial hook does a wonderful job at intriguing the listener, and sets the scene for a series of effortless transformations: The tune grows from an opening concoction of clean guitars, intricate yet forceful basslines, and thumping, developing drum patterns, and renovates itself fantastically. From an ominous, worrisome verse, the song blossoms into a comparatively uplifting chorus, despite a juxtaposition between the melody and the lyrical offerings. Just before you get settled in, the tune makes way for an unexpectedly punchy guitar tone in the bridge. The next time round, this beckons in an unforeseen, relentless solo.
As I briefly mentioned at the start of the review, this track serves to display the ability of the band. While it can be interpreted as an almost experimental electric track from a predominantly acoustic-based artist, Aslam’s efforts become more and more significant after each listen, as you begin to dissect the individual components of the song; when you’ve done that, you can appreciate the track properly. Regardless, it’s a promising bit of rock ‘n’ roll.
Aslam’s acoustic numbers may have a bit more cohesion, and a bit more heart, but this attempt is certainly deserving of praise, and will hopefully become a notable track in the expanding discography of one of the most promising singer/songwriters of the North. Well, I say North, Burton’s kinda on the border…
You can catch Nick Aslam’s Rebel City Revival at Atlas Festival, in North Yorkshire. Of course, there’s Facebook, Twitter, and even his own lovely site. And finally, SoundCloud, so you can catch up on his back-catalogue of hard-work.