22-20s – 22-20s (2004)

They came, they saw, they conquered, they buggered off… and then thought they’d come back again. Indecision seems to have stalked 22-20s footsteps, but on wax, they sound nothing but assured. On their debut, eponymous LP, the four boys from Lincolnshire fused psychedelic rock, the blues, indie rock and the tiniest hint of noise-pop into an invigorating mix. Kicking off with ‘Devil in Me’, their lyrical influences are clear – the backwoods blues that mutated into electric Chicago blues, and the self-reflective post-Dylan blues-rock tropes.

The drone and pound on ‘Such a Fool’ deservedly made the cut as a single, with a pulsing organ and swirling sonics giving it an almost garage rock feel, much like the two other huge tunes here, ’22 Days’ and ‘Shoot Your Gun’. The former, with a video filmed on location in Tokyo, is very much the oh-how-hard-touring-and-meeting-random-women song, dressed up as running away from his girl. Tripe, but catchy tripe – something that can go for anything coming out of Martin Trimble’s mouth, to be frank. Nothing here really sets the mind on fire, straying somewhere close to misogyny on ‘Why Don’t You Do It For Me?’ and ‘I’m The One’, but always with a damn good musical hook behind it.

Country and Western pokes it’s head above the palisades on a couple of tracks – ‘Baby, You’re Not In Love’, the album closer, is a nice, calming little ditty, and ‘Friends’ feels comfortably backwoods, and is the closest thing to the Band-era folk-rock they’re trying to achieve. Without a doubt, though, it’s the big droney rock tunes that prove the best. Sticking to the British side of the deal – psychedelia, foreboding drones, and pounding rhythms – as opposed to the lighter, jauntier country influences, and the 22-20s could really strike it lucky. Let’s see how the reunion goes.

6.5/10

Key Tracks: Such A Fool/22 Days/Shoot Your Gun

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