I’ve never heard of Alfa 9, but by all accounts, they had an album with positive reviews seven years back, then drifted off to do other things. Now they are back with Gone To Ground.
According to the band’s blurb, influences are from the late ’60s, in particular The Byrds and various offshoots, as well as the later Paisley Underground movement (see our Spotify playlist of that here). There’s even a mention of the Rain Parade from that particular scene, which is no bad name to flag up in my book.
All well and good, but if the album is dire, it’s all academic. Thankfully for Alfa 9, it isn’t. In fact, it’s pretty good. Melodic mid 60s-inspired grooves with a nod to the influences above, but mixed in with a bit of the modern day too. This isn’t just a vintage reworking.
The lazy reference would be The Coral (especially with album opener El Morocco), but Alfa 9’s latest is generally less psych-y than that band generally offers, going more down the country route. But don’t let that put you off, it’s a subtle twang, not full-blown cowboy hat territory.
Essentially, if you like your guitar music with a ’60s vibe, a melodic harmony and a rather laid back feel, Gone To Ground should appeal. Picks from the album for me are the country-esque Birling Gap, Gone To Ground, which could have come right out of that Paisley Underground plus Nothing Feels and The Castle, purely for the harmonies. Couple of tracks that don’t float my boat personally are Old Man Blues and Mad Song, but just because they don’t quite sit as well with the rest of the album tracks.
Two out of 12 isn’t bad anyway. Overall, it’s not an album that will change the world, but it is a an above average listen and perfect for a lazy Sunday.
Gone To Ground is down as being out in March, but it already seems to be on Spotify. If you want to listen to it yourself (and you have Spotify), check it out here.