The Tides won last year's ATL's Rock School event, looking fantastically unfussed with the outcome. To watch them, you'd think it had been their natural-born right to swagger and shrug, to carry that shiny blue Rickenbacker and those stoney, Stonesy expressions.
Part of that ease was down to their cool musicianship. They were locked into an understanding that street corner rock and roll was the ultimate. They could play well enough, but nobody was obliged to show off. Instead, they preferred the impeccable boil-down of the first La's and Oasis albums. Nothing wasted, with every little inflection loaded with significance.
Their first offering after Rock School was 'Love Will Set Us Apart'. It was pretty and measured, a near cousin of The Byrds tune, 'Fifth Dimension'. It had some cute tambourine and a top lyric about love being painfully out of synch. Ace.
So off they went to Windmill Lane in Dublin and they exited with an entire album. It was never going to sound sloppy, the only real issue was how individual it would be. We suspected that it would be doused in the spirit of 'Definitely Maybe' and sure enough, it is.
Mostly that's no terrible thing. Craving a better deal in life is a rock and roll rite, and nobody expressed it better than Liam. Often, Paul McMillan catches the ache and the determination rather well. 'Keep It Going' tries to muster a gang of believers together in the face of compromise and too much beer. However, 'How Does It Feel' twists out the vowels of that chorus line in a manner that frankly, isn't worth the aggravayschiooon.
Hey, it's a debut. It's a chance to echo 'Tomorrow Never Knows' on the track 'What Are You Waiting For'. There's possibly a nod to Iggy on 'Happy Homecoming'. And really, if Oasis could currently deliver the likes of 'All Good For Me', there would be a day of national celebration.
They sign off with 'Still Worth Fighting For'. There's merit in the mission, life in those old chord shapes. Apparently, they're gonna make it happen.