Sundowners: Will The Answer Return Bigger Than Ever?

This is a bit of a childhood dream for me. Having discovered The Answer when Revival came out back in 2011 (I was just 13) I have been a pretty big fan ever since. Heck, ‘Trouble’ still gets regular love from me on my Spotify and remains one of my favourite songs ever. So for the band to not only return with their first album in nearly seven years, but to be sent it early to review, is rather surreal for me. I shan’t waste anymore of anyone’s time, let’s do this!

The album’s opener and title track builds things perfectly, a harmonica and some slide guitar ringing through. The drums and bass build on the sound more before Cormac’s vocals add yet another level of build. It isn’t until the chorus that the track finally explodes with some big guitar chords and cymbal crashes. And even then, it’s brief before dropping back down again. Interestingly it stays pretty stripped-back for most of the track. Heck, at one point in the middle it even takes a sharp turn into Led Zep territory, with Cormac’s ‘woh’s sounding very Plant over the bass and drums. It does get pretty big by the final chorus and outro, but still maintains the same gritty feel throughout. As good as the track is, I feel like it’d be even better live, opening the set and building into a huge second song.

It does just that too, as ‘Blood Brother’ opens on a great, heavy blues riff. It continues through the verse, Cormac’s voice fitting perfectly over the top. The subtle claps and cowbell were a nice touch, too! It again builds to a huge chorus, though every part of the vocals were catchy, the melody being amazing throughout. An awesome guitar solo follows the second chorus, breaking things up briefly and well. The track screams single (which is good given that it’s the lead one). A simple formula, consistent steady tempo and not too much change, just a straight up, catchy rock song. Great stuff and easily playlisted!

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‘California Rust’ opens on some powerful vocals and another great blues guitar riff. The rest of the band come in for the second half of the chorus, building through the pre into a huge, stadium-filling chorus. This is the Answer I love from my teen years. From the catchy melody to the keys adding massive amounts of depth to the sound, it was awesome. A short but very effective guitar solo gives way to a great bridge with some very effective gang vocals, giving off an almost gospel feel. Then another huge chorus takes us home in style. This was excellent, and the second straight song to make our playlist.

The huge riffs keep coming as single ‘Want You to Love Me’ slaps you in the face with one immediately. The chorus is an interesting one too, the riff having some interesting timings and spaces in it. The vocals fit in the gaps well, though, maintaining a fun melody. The bridge is great, more gang vocals and Robert Plant style highs building it up simply and perfectly into a final chorus. It’s all (nicely) basic folky blues stuff, but it’s done to perfection every time. I love this band so much, they’re some of the best songwriters around in the genre.

‘Oh Cherry’ has a bit more of a surfer feel to its riff and verses, a nice change of pace. The chorus is still big and catchy, much like the others, but it stays a little stripped back for the most part. Then we get the ballad of the album, the beautiful ‘No Salvation’. A great guitar chord progression under some low vocals with Comac’s trademark rasp. It honestly gives off Rod Stewart vibes in the best way. It stays steady throughout, adding in some great harmonies and backing vocals for the choruses. The guitar solo is my favourite on the album too, it fitting perfectly with the feel of the track. I loved everything about this. Playlisted.

‘Cold Heart’ is another stripped back blues track, a steady romp filled with some awesome guitaring and vocals. The same could be said for ‘All Together’ and ‘Livin’ on the Line’. All are great tracks but felt similar to a lot of the others, so I didn’t have much to talk about. Heck, ‘Get Back on It’ followed the same formula but was so stompy and simple that it felt different. It was another highlight track of the album, a steady beat and some sludgy riffing behind some great vocals.

Album closer ‘Almost Alright’ is another slower one, this time having more of a country feel to it. Some beautiful clean guitaring and a simple beat form the backdrop for the low, slow vocals. The chorus was catchy as hell, especially with all the multiple layers of vocals, it sounded so good. It was a beautiful love ballad, and considering I usually dislike slow tracks closing an album, this felt massively fitting and worked incredibly well. What a fantastic way to close out a fantastic album.

Overall: This was awesome. What a return from a band that have been gone far too long! There isn’t a bad track on the album and it’s arranged perfectly. I listened to it through twice while doing this review and didn’t get bored for a second. How they’re not massive I’ll never know as they are so ridiculously talented at songwriting. I’m going to have to see them live soon as this would all be amazing.

The Score: 9/10