It was the ears of soul legend Amy Winehouse that first pricked up to LIAM BAILEY’S talent, releasing his first two solo EP’s on her label, Lioness Records, back in 2010. Shortly after, Bailey unfurled into the wider consciousness and became a household name after co-writing and providing vocals for Chase & Status’s 2011 hit-record ‘Blind Faith.’ But years before that, back when he was just a lad, it was his mum’s old records that initially influenced the embryonic days of his album ‘Definitely Now’, though of course he didn’t know that at the time…
The album oscillates between acoustic Reggae, crooning Soul, and seductive Blues Rock. It provides a huge array of retro musical sounds, and you can clearly hear echoes of Liam’s predecessor’s throughout each of the twelve songs. In this review, I’m going to try to go into detail about this genre diversity, and try to explain what effect this has on the album.
It opens with distinctly Bluesy tracks, like ‘On My Mind’, ‘Fool Boy’ and ‘Black Moon’. All of which feature those familiar Blues characteristics, such as looping bass and drums, with regular aggressive guitar riffs interlaced throughout. These initial songs’ lyrics also concentrate on the typical theme of a man being a bit down on his luck and fed up about it. Especially with the song “Black Moon”, due to the particularly retro-sounding chorus: “Black moon you need to go/you only bring me painful woe”.
Following the achingly Jimi Hendrix-esque fifth song ‘Villain’, the album takes an unexpected turn; leading to the slow R&B ballad, ‘Autumn Leaves’. This is when we begin to recognise the diversity of Bailey’s musical talents, introducing the epic guitar solo in ‘Sooo… Maybe Love’, and after that, his Acoustic song of solidarity: ‘Battle Hymn of Central London’. This is where I feel Liam shows some of his most accomplished song-writing, featuring religious imagery in the chorus of, “You’re my holy fire/you’re my holy light/so be my Jesus and save me tonight”. The line “Some say ‘shine crazy diamond’” is also a clear lyrical nod to Pink Floyd, which is a great example of one of the numerous bands that I can tell have inspired the album. It also marks the beginning of another genre; Reggae.
Of course, his chameleon-like vocal changes to fit each of these music genres accordingly, and does so effortlessly; something which is extremely rare. I think my favourite track off the album is one of the slower ones: “Crazy Situation”. It owns a rhythm and melody reminiscent of late 50s/early 60s Doo-Wop, and has a warm, evocative feel to it. It’s a song that I feel would have a wide age group of listeners. I mean, I reckon my Nan would like it just as much as I do, which is pretty damn impressive considering the 40-odd year age gap going on there…
‘Definitely Now’ contains a whole mix of some of the most influential genres that were at the height of pop culture from the 50s to the early 2000s, and it’s an incredible listen. I wish more modern artists would take note. If I hear one more greased up boy band singing about butts I’m gonna scream.
Yours in Love of New Music,
Emily Rose Malone x
P.S – All deets of where you can buy the album HERE.