The VirginMarys: Divides

review virginmarys x1 cong

It’s a shame VirginMarys were formed 10 miles down the road: Macclesfield has a bona fide successful modern rock band to boast about and we can’t wangle a local connection (other than drummer Danny Dolan has mates in Congleton).

This is their second album and it’s a bit of a monster. It’s a sign of their credibility that they roped in producer Gil Norton, whose previous work includes the Pixies’ Doolittle and Foo Fighters’ The Colour and the Shape and 2007’s Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace, Dave Grohl bringing him back specially for that one.

If the Sixx AM (see below) album is the slick and formulaic work of a global rock star, Divides is the sound of the angry young upstart, as much punk and rock, and in more than one place offering an alternative to Kasabian’s festival-friendly rock. Despite it being a bit lairy, Norton gives it a slick and commercial sound.

It opens with a Guns n Roses style bass and big riff, with pounding toms, before settling down to a slowish rock song that sees singer Ally Dickaty showing his tuneful side. For You My Love is more full-blooded melodic rock. Halo In Her Silhouette ups the pace and is more heads down rock n roll, with a hooky chorus about an “angel with a cigarette”. Norton cranks up the bass of Matt Rose for this.

Also good is the menacing I Want To Take You Home.

Walk In My Shoes shows they can do slow, while Kill The Messenger, the most Kasabian of the tunes, is an early standout, one of the more complex songs and with a more tempered sound. Motherless Land sees Norton give the band the full Foos sound.

It’s a strong rock album that never lets up the quality; we suspect even the VirginMarys are surprised how much Norton has wrung out of them. As they’re a local band, a must-buy for rock fans.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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