Sheffield is home to Arctic Monkeys and, as such, any other band that emerges from the city in central England is likely to draw comparisons. That's certainly true for the pop group Harrisons. The Sheffield quartet formed four years ago and hasn't been able to shake the Arctic Monkeys connection since. But to be fair, Harrisons have a sound that unquestionably channels some of the most popular Brit-pop and punk bands that came before them, with an unabashed love of the '80s. There's the infectious riffs and blue-collar social commentary of The Clash and the pop sensibilities of, say, Duran Duran. There's also the spiky rhythms of the Arctic Monkeys.
Harrisons' debut, No Fighting in the War Room launches with the immediately catchy and frenetic "Dear Constable." It's a whirlwind of guitars and passionate vocals with Harrisons frontman Jubby Taylor offering his best Joe Strummer.
The album follows with a similar, high-energy rip on "Man of the Hour" and "Wishing Well" before the band tries to show its softer side on the wistful ballad "Little Boy Lost" and dream-pop anthem "Simmer Away."
"Take it to the Mattress" is the album's standout track with jangly guitars and infinitely danceable rhythms. On the surface it's an upbeat romp with an innocent skip in its stride. But the lyrics offer a darker plea to a drug-addicted friend to dry out as Taylor sings, "I'm not here to blame you. I'm just here to save you."
No Fighting in the War Room is far from brilliant, but it has memorable moments and stands as a strong start for a band that, before this spring, showed real promise. After having limited success in reaching a major audience, Harrisons decided in April to separate and work on different projects. Drummer Mark White, guitarist Ben Stanton and bassist Ashley Birch formed the group The Flying Squad. Harrisons frontman Jubby Taylor is now in a band called Park Brigade.
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