It's all so terribly British. Mancunian five-piece make debut album featuring strident guitars and lyrical touches ...

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Hellbilly Deluxe

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Hellbilly Deluxe

IT’S ALL SO TERRIBLY British. Mancunian five-piece make debut album featuring strident guitars and lyrical touches such as, [I]”On a rainy day/You’re just an average man”[/I]. They anoint said platter with some sort of roguishly ironic title, such as ‘The New Spiritual Vacuum’. They even describe themselves as being ‘reclusive’ in their own press banter. They are Harvey’s Rabbit. And they rock. Very, very gently.

A couple of years back, Harvey’s Rabbit released a rather wonderful version of a Robert Forster song, ‘Is This What You Call Change?’. A hamster’s lifetime later, they get around to releasing an album, and it’s safe to say that they haven’t been too perturbed about missing any funky bandwagons along the way. For theirs is a timeless, zeitgeist-free world of scruffy suits and grey skies; of marginally fierce attitude and chipper, slightly chummy tunes shot through with deadpan grace.

Sniffing around the likes of ‘Love Is The Law’, ‘Whatever Happened To’ and ‘Happy Town’ you get the feeling that Harvey’s Rabbit are thoroughly enjoying their role as mature miserable buggers, but would never admit to it in public. Equally, just as Babybird once declared himself to be too handsome to be homeless, you get the not-so-sneaking suspicion that, fundamentally, Harvey’s Rabbit are way too amiable to ever be famous.

And then they launch into the nine-and-half-minute distressed melodrama of ‘Blue Cat Cafi’, the majority of which appears to consist of a decidedly amorous America-mungous axe solo which heaves like so much [I]Carry On[/I] cleavage. And you think, ‘Oh, so they [I]are [/I]big flashypants show-offs after all, then’…