Album Review: 54321

what we did with our days (Crazeology)

As much as I love loads of current music, I’m a 60s and 70s girl at heart, so when it comes to buying albums I tend to spend my money on the mountains of old stuff I’ve yet to catch up on. But following a couple of recent visits to see 54321 at Liverpool’s Cavern Club on a Sunday afternoon, curiosity got the better of me and I invested in their debut album, What We Did With Our Days.

The Wirral-based band comprises four brothers Rory, Olly, Barney and Callum Taylor and cousin Liam Capleton who are no strangers to live performance. In 2011 they supported Babybird and Toploader and are regulars around the Liverpool circuit, including their Cavern Club residency and popular appearances at Liverpool’s famous Matthew Street Festival. They usually throw in a couple of self-penned tracks at their Cavern covers gig – Casino and The Astronaut – both of which are catchy and powerful live tracks. So having become familiar with them, I kind of expected the rest of the album to take a backseat and not strike me quite so hard…but I was wrong.

After giving the album a good hammering, the other 9 tracks soon came into their own. I’ve read previously that the guys are influenced by bands like Queen, The Police and U2 but there is such a diverse mix of sounds here that it’s impossible to narrow it down – subtle elements of Squeeze, Elvis Costello and The Finn Brothers are also definitely apparent, which makes me a very happy girl indeed.

The album is very ‘British’ in its production with more than a fleeting nod to Nick Lowe. The sound is clean and tight – no grunge or over-thrashing – the mix is crystal clear and every track is classy and well written and, if Casino and The Astronaut are anything to go by, will translate impressively into much heavier live versions.

Stand out tracks for me are Desdemona and 9 over 9 which take on a more American feel that wouldn’t be out of place on The Breakfast Club soundtrack. Lights On You and Not Tonight Josephine boast hooks that Guy Chambers would be proud of, and Boys and Arrows is a powerful ballad that I can only imagine gets a good smashing when played live.

What We Did With Our Days doesn’t claim to offer you musical innovation or a break-though sound that’s going to change the world of pop music – what you get is a generous collection of fresh, unspoiled tracks that will have you singing along in no time. Rory has one of the best new voices you’re likely to have heard, with a range I can only describe as an audible feast. The musical talent of this band is so blatant that it makes you wonder exactly how the music industry can sleep at night.

Buy it - you won’t be disappointed - and I would strongly recommend you see them live whenever you get chance. Download the album on itunes or visit www.thisis54321.com.

Thanks to Nic Perrins for this great review.