A collection of some of the finest artists in the Stourbridge scene, ‘Welcome to Stourbridge (You’ll Never Leave)’ is a fine piece of work from not only some of the best acts in the West Midlands, but in the country. Created in May 2020 during lockdown to keep the creative juices flowing, 14 local bands and artists teamed up with local producers, media photographers and music venues to create this compilation album. With the idea for each artist to cover one another, this is one of the best creations that came out of lockdown.
Previous MoggBlog artist Shotgun Marmalade is first up covering Flying Ant Day. Fast-paced and staying as true to their roots as possible, Shotgun Marmalade are uplifting and set the album off in the right way. Another previous MoggBlog band is Mistrusted, this time they collaborate with Jinny Croutear. Covering Balaban and the Bald Illeagles, ‘Lucid Dream’ is a post-punk number with a fierce attitude. The Smoking’ Pilchards cover folk-punk songtress Jess Silk in the next track. Titled ‘Build Your Boat’, the acoustic based song features tinges of ska-punk in it’s mix. Covering The Psychotic Male Voice Choir, Grande Valise take centre stage in ‘Call and Return’. With an ethereal electronic soundscape, the 80s infused contender nudges towards The Pet Shop Boys and their influence on the 80s.
Folk-punk songwriter Jess Silk covers Shotgun Marmalade’s ‘Bang Bang Disappear’, and showcases how distinctive her voice truly is. An artist with a whole lot of charisma and personality, when this is all over, I recommend you getting a ticket to one of Jess’ shows, you won’t be disappointed. Balaban and the Bad Illeagles cover Grande Vasile’s ‘My Midland Heart’, and sets a strong tone on the release. Keeping it local, the punk anthem is filled with grit. EYES are up next, and they’re covering Tokyo Riot Police’s ‘Femme Fatale’. With most of the album being around a punk nature, this rock and roll infused track features elements of garage rock and post-punk. Gentle and something the album definitely needed dynamically, Roscoe Balaban and Gavin Davies perform Flying Ant Day’s ‘Fast Women & Slow Horses’ at track number 8. Prominently acoustic, the track blends a subtle latin feel to it’s arrangement.
Local legend Alex Ohm covers M A R C’s ‘Time’, and it shines with elegance. Stripped back and showcasing that all you need sometimes is an instrument and a voice, the simplicity within this number is breathtaking. At track number 10, Alan Neilson covers The Novus’ ‘Darkness’. Giving the album a stroke of flamenco at the very beginning of the number, the track advances into an acoustic indie anthem. Covering Grande Valise, Bedtime Susan transport listeners back to the ages of the Sex Pistoles in ‘Simon Says’. A mesmerising punk track that refuses to be ignored. M A R C takes Alex Ohm’s ‘Fractures (Little Wonder’ and puts his own unforgettable twist on the already wonderful track. Making it his own, M A R C changes up the vocal melody, giving the track a stronger melancholic feel.
Jake Davey of Colossus Yeti covers Balaban and the Bald Illeagles in the second to last track ‘Bleeder’. Another acoustic track that’s completely heartfelt, this track will pull at your heartstrings with it’s simplistic approach. Armed with the honour of being the EP’s closer, Flying Ant Day cover Tokyo Riot Police’s ‘Celebrity’. A party anthem designed to make you groove, ‘Celebrity’ closes the EP in true British style. Overall, ‘Welcome to Stourbridge (You’ll Never Leave)’ makes me proud to be from the West Midlands.