There is a current trend for bands who wear the influences proudly on their sleeves. Whether this is because they are merely copying the greats or re-inventing them is the subject of much conjecture (see: The Great Greta Van Fleet Debate for more details).
On first listen, you wouldn’t place THE SENTON BOMBS into this retro-rock craze - half the time they barely sound like themselves let alone anyone else but somehow through their varied approach and blend of styles they contrive to sound incredibly familiar. Without necessarily sounding like any single specific band you feel like you’ve known their music all your life.
Some of the influences are more obvious than others - nicking lines wholesale from The Clash on opening song does somewhat telegraph that one but there’s also a healthy dose of The Damned in there, most notably on ‘Bury the Hatchet’. The early UK punk scene is only the leaping off point though, there are snippets and phrasings throughout that launch the memories of a thousand bands and genres, a little Cheap Trick, some 80s New Wave, a splattering of 90s Brit Rock - touches of The Almighty and Therapy? largely - and is that a hint of Volbeat I’m hearing on the sublime ‘Under Offer’?
Everything is thrown into the melting pot and somehow, out come a band that sounds like everyone and no one at the same time. It’s simultaneously utterly original and like hearing all your favourite bands at once. In fact, I wonder if the influences I’ve listed are more of a reflection of my own record collection and that everyone else would hear something different entirely. It feels like that could well be the case and that’s quite a thrilling experience really.
THE SENTON BOMBS sound like a band that if they caught you at the right moment in your life could easily become an obsession. The album is full to the brim of earworms that nestle into your brain, make little earworm families and live happily ever after. They have the sort of sound that makes you want to plunge into a crowd and pogo like an idiot, and yet this isn’t all full throttle and one-paced, there’s nuance and restraint too.
In fact, the only gripe is that it sometimes feels like it’s a little too restrained, that you’re not quite getting the full Senton Bomb experience. It feels a little neat and polished and somehow slightly muted. Sometimes you want the songs to grab you by the throat and they don’t quite manage it. You want them to sound dangerous and dirty and they too often end up being nice and clean. It may be a production issue or just a band that are still learning how to get the best out of themselves in the studio but it means the album falls short of being a modern classic and instead becomes just very good. Like The Struts, whose first album was brimming with potential that exploded gloriously on their second attempt, you get the feeling that if the band can unleash themselves fully next time around they could produce something very special indeed.
What we’re left with is still far better than the majority of releases out there and more than worthy of your attention it’s just that you can’t help feeling that they’re still on the journey to next big thingsville rather than having already arrived. However, if they do reach their potential then it won’t be long before these outsiders are welcomed in by a whole lot of people.
The Senton Bombs are:
Joey Class - Vocals & Bass
Damien Kage - Guitar & Backing
Johnny Gibbons - Guitar & Backing
Scott Mason - Drums
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