The Universal - The Universal

TC 06/06/2010

Rating: 4/5

Scouse quartet The Universal play blatant guitar driven indie rock, with a large foot in the past and they do it with an abundance of unashamed gusto. And you know what…it works for me! Fifteen years ago, Britpop was on the rise, with bands like Cast, Elastica and Shed Seven playing it down the line, with no frills, no synths and no pretence of doing anything other than perform great tunes packed with infectious guitar riffs. Since then, indie has been tainted with many new coats of paint, so praise be to The Universal for stripping it back down!

Main man Terry Shaughnessy has a very similar vocal style to the early solo-career Paul Weller, you know, the one who had emerged from the wreckage of the eighties, soiled by his Style Council meanderings and had decided to tap back into the 'angry young man' again! Shaughnessy possesses the same gnarled soulfulness and often leads the music here into a blues arena, prompting comparisons with Ocean Colour Scene (who the band have supported on stage).

There's heaps of passionate energy and songs like “Shine On”, “Day In Day Out” and “Stand Up” best illustrate those nineties roots, with guitars to the fore, ripping up some great tunes, with Shaughnessy hollering over it. “Get Yourself Together” is the most soulful number here and “Can You Feel It” has an earthy blues drive to it. Lyrically, there's little imagination, so it's within the dynamism of the music that the band scores. They won't be knocking on the door of The Mercury Awards but, with the World Cup upon us, they might just contribute towards the soundtrack for the summer.

Release date: 31/05/10