Crash and Burn
By The Decoders
Enjoyable, even if I'm not the target demographic!
I’ll admit up front that I’m probably not the target generation for The Decoders’ music – I know Jon via his mum, and my reference points for music of this style are probably a bit old-fashioned to some ears. That said, I’ve enjoyed "Cellophane Veil" enormously, and I wish the Decoders every success with it.
If I had to sum up the style in a single word, it would have to be "Mod". The band’s influences seem to be drawn largely from the great tradition of guitar-based London bands such as the early Who and the Jam, although some of the vocal harmonies put me most strongly in mind of Secret Affair (without the sax, of course!)
The music ranges from rock to ballad, but with a common sound courtesy of Blake Feehan’s crisp vocals, and, in many cases, a driving rhythm guitar. Most of the tracks work well, but my personal preference are the tighter, upbeat, "bouncy" numbers. If I had to pick a favourite it would be Plastic Lullaby, but the opening track, Crash and Burn, runs it a close second.
The musicianship of all three Decoders is excellent. Jon Flint’s drums are spot on, and I’ve already mentioned Blake’s tight, melodic vocals, but these two would be nowhere without Martin Lister, who apart from a guest appearances on a couple of tracks plays all the other instruments, including bass and lead guitars, as well as occasional keyboards and additional vocals. The drawback, if there is one, is that it is impossible for the band to recreate this multi-handed approach in live performance, unless they recruit some extra musicians. However, having seen them as a three-hander live I have to admit that they manage the difficult feat surprisingly well!
The inventive lyrics vary to fit the songs, from "angry young man" political commentary to balladic love song. I wouldn’t claim to understand them all, but I particularly enjoyed the humorous observation of how what a man wants in a woman changes over time, in Plastic Lullaby.
As I said, I wish The Decoders every success. Keep up the good work!