Of course – and I don’t want to come across as an overly cynical Welsh berk here – the timing of the furore over the now much -publicised defection of sixty percent of Inglorious on the eve of the release of this album (and singer Nathan James‘ appearance in the London production of War of the Worlds) couldn’t have come at a better time. Interest in the band was immediately piqued, and several ghoulish individuals of my acquaintance actually decided to pick the album up purely because of this very public stoush… Mr James undoubtedly shone a light on himself at just the right time, but does this third Inglorious album warrant the hype? Let’s find out…
On the face of it there are no real surprises with Inglorious’ third studio outing. Despite the undoubted vocal talent of James, the band as an entity aren’t quite as good as they think they are; Solid, yes. At times – especially on more downcast, emotional material like I Don’t Know You and Glory Days, outstanding. But I always feel they are just a bit like fellow Brits Furyon a few years back in the media-desperately-need-new-Britrock-heroes-so-will-overpraise-band-beyond-their-ability stakes. The band are three albums in now, and still haven’t quite shaken off the ‘baby Whitesnake’ tag. Getting rid of most of your band a la Coverdale won’t change that aspect either; But for this reviewer the band still have a long way to go, song wise, before they can get close to Saltburn’s most illustrious shop assistant in the Britrock songwriting pantheon.
Never Alone is pretty good, coming across like a slice of Doug Aldrich-era ‘Snake, and Freak Show shows a heavier, grungier side of the band that comes close to proving that they are indeed ready to move out of the ‘new wave of classic rock’ ghetto into pastures certainly more green but definitely more interesting. Tomorrow is the highlight of the first half of the album, benefiting from a dramatic opening and big chorus with a bridge that comes straight outta the Saints an’Sinners playbook. This is Inglorious at their best – emotionally fragile but musically hard-hitting, and when they get this equation right you do indeed believe that the World might some day lay at Nathan James’ feet.
But the second half of the album is where this iteration of the band really hit their doomed stride, with the afore-mentioned I Don’t Know You, Glory Days and the title track forming a triumvirate of real class that should give hope to Inglorious whoever happens to be backing James on future endeavours. Rooted in the classics, of course, but with a crisp modern sounds and superbly over the top vocal delivery – on I Don’t Know You James somehow combines the pomp of Coverdale with the sweaty, earthy desperation of Tom Jones with surprisingly triumphant results – these three tracks should form the template for future success. Let’s hope so!
Ride to Nowhere is out now.