Album of the Week: Call the Doctor – Hands Will Shake
Beloved by Marc Riley, Call the Doctor’s first full length release arrives with a significant question hanging over it – is there anything more to the band than delightful single Wrecking Ball?
The answer is yes – we wouldn’t be featuring it if it wasn’t – and there’s a handful of songs here that manage the same heights.
For Your Leisure boasts some utterly massive guitars and a huge chorus from the lips of Patti Aberhart. Patti is of course “a lady”, something which we’ve not been allowed to forget with some sensationally lazy comparisons to Sleater-Kinney being bandied about.
The band haven’t helped themselves by naming themselves after a Sleater’ album but it’s disappointing that in 2012, that’s the name that people reach for when they hear a girl-fronted guitar band. While there is a ragged, lo-fi element to Call the Doctor, this is a punkier, more direct affair without much of the subtly that made Tucker, Brownstein and Weiss so revered. Siouxsie, Sebadoh and Blood Red Shoes work equally well as reference points.
These songs stand on their own though, and warrant repeat listening. It took us a few goes to really get it to be honest but big hooks will get under anyone’s skin and the quiet/loud dynamic of Stood Beside offers up some superb intertwining distorted guitars and multiple vocal melodies.
Guitarist Rob Hallworth shares mic duties on the relatively restrained Ten Creptin and let’s not forget Wrecking Ball, the song that gave them that extra little shunt into the spotlight. Expect it to get a new lease of life with a formal single release this month.
Hands Will Shake is a very strong debut and a real platform for the band to build on. For fans of grungy, fuzzed up guitars and getting sweaty down the front.
We spoke to guitarist Rob this week in the usual fashion.
How did you guys get together?
I recorded a few demos, posting them on a Myspace (huh? what’s that then – Ed) page named after my favourite album by my favourite band (Call the Doctor by Sleater-Kinney) and subsequently replied to an advert posted by Patti on Gumtree looking for musicians. We wrote and demoed more songs together using Garageband as a drum machine until we found a drummer (John) and bassist (Chris) through a friend of a friend. There was one line-up change after John emigrated to Australia and was replaced with Jordan about a year ago.
What inspired the album?
Everything from hangovers, love, loss, loneliness, music and passion. Some songs were simply fun ideas we came up with on the spur of the moment and Patti worked on the lyrics at a later date, while others were more conceptual from the start.
The album’s been very well received, do you think this could really be the start of something?
We’d love to think so, we all love making music and it would be amazing to not have to do other jobs so we could focus on it more. But even if it isn’t the start of something bigger, we’ll always make music for our own enjoyment and hopefully they’ll be a few people around to listen.
Can we expect to see you in Scotland any time soon?
As soon as a promoter up there invites us we’ll be there like a shot!