The Harrisons – Blue Note
“eye-poppingly original, a lesson in making an instant classic.” NME
It’s a heady time for Yorkshire music. Harrisons debut single, Wishing Well, met with a ravenous press reception and gained them a healthy cult following earned through the sheer graft of extensive touring. Having scorched the landscape first time around, they’re now back to claim it as their own through their juggernaut new single. Blue Note is about wanting to turn back the clock yet plough forward, about anxiety for the future and regret of the past. Nostalgia has never sounded so desperate.
Harrisons have graduated from the usual smattering of lousy jobs and are a rare example in this day and age of people whose very livelihood is their music. Rather than gain being their motivating factor, Harrisons are driven by escape; escape from ‘twats in Burberry caps’, the crapness of a life unfulfilling, the monotony of ‘days that are the same but in different ways’. Like men in an airtight room, Harrisons play like they’re running on fumes and have to account for every single breath, and it’s this kind of tension which makes their music so very, very vital.
There are the obvious points of reference in their sound – fractions of old heroes like Strummer, The Undertones and The Specials spring immediately into earshot. Perhaps also The Ramones, transposed thousands of miles, both geographical and cultural. But there are also broader strokes of Tom Waits, Dylan, the Stones; subtler nods to the masters as well as breakneck rock’n’roll. It’s that firebrand ethic that characterises their work. Blue Note hits you like a flurry of punches down a dark alley, while B-side Shirley’s Temple takes The Clash’s Spanish Bombs and colours it in Sheffield hues of steely blue.
The video for the lead track is in keeping with the profile of the band’s background, being as it is a homage to the legendary games session kickabout scene in Ken Loach’s classic tale of friendship, Kes. The band actually went to the same school where the original was filmed, The Edward Sherrien School in Barnsley. The parts of the school kids were played by the band and all their mates with Jubby playing the Billy Casper role. Actor Steve Edge (Mike Bassett, England Manager, Phoenix Nights and Peep Show) playing the role of the deluded PE teacher that was originally played by Brian Glover. Harrisons are piling into the back of their van for the next few months to break in the New Year in style with a nation wide jaunt not to be missed, culminating at a hometown hoedown at the start of February. If you’ve still not caught the buzz, the good people at South By South West certainly have as they’re one of the first UK bands confirmed to play the 2006 festival.