Sixteen years after Hurricane #1 called it a day, Alex Lowe is back with a brand new album and a brand new line up.
Signed to Alan McGee’s Creation Records after forming in 1996, they released their self-titled debut album Hurricane #1 in 1997. Those of you in the know will remember the big hitting singles “Step into My World” (which reached number 29 in the UK singles chart) and the gorgeous “Only The Strongest Will Survive”, taken from their 1999 second album of the same name, and which scored them their biggest single by getting to number 19 in the charts .
Things were looking good for the band, but that same year they decided to call it a day. Guitarist Andy Bell (who joined Hurricane #1 after leaving shoegazing favourites Ride) left and joined the band Gay Dad for a short time before becoming a member of a little known group called Oasis. Singer Alex Lowe forged a solo career and has released several albums before reforming Hurricane #1 last year. He has also been battling cancer and wrote the new album whilst undergoing treatment in hospital.
Andy Bell isn’t in the new line up as Ride reformed last year so Alex takes up not only his previous role as lead singer, but also lyricist for the new album Find What You Love and Let It Kill You, released on 20 November through Tapete Records.
When you are wired up to chemo and radio therapy, the last thing you want to do is wallow in it and feel sorry for yourself so I had the idea that the album should be happy and not too darkAlex Lowe
As a fan of the band from way back when, I was keen to hear their new offering and have played it through several times to get a feel of what it’s all about. It’s un-mistakably Hurricane #1 as Alex has a very distinctive voice and I knew straight away who I was listening to. I do think you can tell that Andy Bell is missing from the record though, mainly because there isn’t as much lengthy guitar work on it as there has been on the previous albums. But that’s totally the point as Alex says he wanted “an organic album, back to basics type of sound, nothing fancy, just good tunes played in a good Rock “n” Roll manner”.
You will find Andy Bell on one album track though: on lead single “Think of the Sunshine” he lends a wonderful bit of backwards guitar to the proceedings. Alex also painted the artwork for the album so this has been something of a labour of love to produce.
The opening track “Best is Yet to Come” starts the album with a purpose and as we continue on with “Crash” which is a louder more energetic number. There are also some more stripped back songs on the album with “Feel Me Now Again” being a gentle, acoustic number and possibly (with the exception of the lead single) this the stand-out track for me.
I can totally understand what this album should be about, and as someone who has always enjoyed their music I was very much looking forward to listening to this record. However, and I hate to say it, it feels to me like there is something missing. And I guess that something would be Bell. I purposefully listened to some older tracks alongside the new album and found that the guitar work of Bell, his lyrics and the sound isn’t quite the same. This was to be expected though, and I should say that what has been produced is still an album well worth listening to. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with moving onwards in a new direction and I think Lowe should be proud of his accomplishment. Will the old fans like it? Yes, I would think they, like me, will be interested to hear what this new version of the band sounds like. Will it win any new fans? Quite possibly, and only time will tell on that one.
If I had one complaint about this album, it’s that it’s not quite long enough for my liking. Clocking in at around 35 minutes, I would’ve liked just a little bit more time with the band as 16 years has been a long wait. But, all in all, I’d say the wait has been worth it as this is new era of Hurricane #1 and I hope that this record will showcase that.