Tollington Road is a songwriter/producer duo based near London. The band consists of Dr. B who comes up with song concepts, lyrics, melodies and also sings lead vocal and James Welch who contributes additional music, instruments, studio production and vocals as well. The group’s sound is a blend of alternative and indie with classic hard rock thrown in for good measure. Their style of playing can be attributed to such rock legends as Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith, to more recent bands like The Killers, Foo Fighters and Primal Scream. Their debut EP Fly! Is a project 25 years in the making. Starting from Dr. B’s early lyrical ideas – handwritten on scraps of paper in the early ‘90s – which found their way to James’ ideas of musical reality starting in 2012. This debut is the first in a planned series of “mini-albums.”
The duo describes “More” as a “call to escape the shackles and relentless slog of work and commuting to re-find life and purpose.” The lyrics are humorous and tongue-in-cheek: “I don’t want to be a stereotype / I want to believe in my own hype / It’s time to take a stand / As the singer in a rock and roll band.” The guitar riffs are catchy as are the melodious and strong back up singing courtesy of Pip Williams. The drum beat and bass lines to “Slave” reminded me of Aerosmith’s “Love in an Elevator” so yeah, already I liked this one. But what I liked even better were the guitar riffs. The lyrics express that music is all about the groove, the dancing and the rhythm.
“Friday” features Pip Williams and Thir13een Beatz on vocals. What threw me for a loop were the synths and the techno-dance style – this one is a definite, pump-you-up-before-you-go-clubbing kind of song. My favorite line was – “Get down!” – something I don’t hear too often these days. “Beauty” has a slower groove and its overall style is a stadium-rock n’ roll anthem. The band describes “Phoenix” as “epic” – a slow-building, seven-and-a-half-minute rock opus – a reflection on lost love and the need to move on. The vocal harmonies are gorgeous on this one as is the great moments of guitar grooves. Quieter parts along with louder crescendos kept this song moving well. The words suggest a call to the “Phoenix” inside of us all – that, despite the ‘should ofs’ and ‘could ofs’ – each new day we are born again and given a second chance to right the wrongs and make a brand-new start.
The aptly titled “The End” begins with an infectious drum and guitar rhythm and keeps it going pretty much throughout the song. The style is a straightforward rocker with inspiriting lyrics – “I know that we can take it / I’m never gonna break it / I know that we will make it / Ooh, yeah in the end.” I think what I liked best about this band, at least on their debut, was that they took chances mixing up styles of rock, techno, dance and alternative. And, adding additional musicians and singers to their fold made for a strong start.
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