Ahhhhh, Towers Of London, the band whose singer once proudly proclaimed they could dick on the Sex Pistols are back. Returning with their first new music in ages, and the first to feature the band’s re-united original ‘classic’ line up.
Yes siree, after those well received support shows with The Wildhearts back in 2019, Donny, Dirk, Rev, Snell, and Tommy are finally back with ’Yet To Be’, an all-new 5 track EP that’s coincidently released in the same month as, (and sixteen years after) their classic ‘Blood Sweat & Towers’ debut first made them the band many seemed to love to hate back in the noughties.
I’ll include myself in that category as I’ve had my own love/hate relationship with them through the years too, initially catching them in Cardiff Barfly around 2005 and absolutely loathing them, Towers then seemed to end up supporting every band I was going to see, before around the time of the release of their debut I finally “got it” and simply couldn’t get enough of them. Then, just as quickly as the band they so famously thought they could dick on, they were out of the spotlight and releasing the way too Indie leaning. ‘Fizzy Pop’ (the band’s second album), and whilst that record does indeed still have some fans out there, without Rev and Snell in their ranks they just weren’t the same incendiary live act, and without that underlying tension that seemed to be the band’s catalyst for musical catastrophe, the band slowly withdrew into the shadows.
Somewhere they then ended up spending quite a bit of their time, working with various other musicians exploring potential new avenues for the band to pursue musically and releasing such singles as ‘Shake It’ and ‘Shot In The Dark’ along the way. Then in 2019 news finally broke that the original line up was getting back together for one last crack at this thing called the music biz. Returning as a much more ‘grounded’ group of people, the thing that perhaps struck me most about those Wildhearts support shows was just how much each member appeared to have grown up during their time apart, and Donny in particular seemed genuinely humbled not only by the enthusiastic reception they received night after night but also by just how powerful the band still sounded after all those years away.
‘Yet To Be’ picks up on the spirit of bonhomie from those reunion shows and actually includes a couple of the tunes from that set too, however it’s the track that’s recently been included in TNT’s ‘Animal Kingdom’ series that gets the EP out the starting blocks and for me it’s perhaps the track I actually like least here. That’s not to say it’s a bad song, it’s just that to my ears the anthemic ‘Jump’ actually sounds like ‘Fizzy Pop’ era Towers colliding headlong with the Rev’s post-Towers band The Howling, and whereas elsewhere within this EP elements of electronica are used to superb effect to ultimately add a new dynamic to the Towers sound, here, whilst the synthy tribal beat is insanely catchy, it doesn’t really make me want to err jump…not like ‘Get Yourself Outta Here’ anyway. Initially premiered on the Wildhearts tour, this is the Towers of London sound I first fell in love with, a ferocious slice of guitar rock, complete with one-finger Stooges piano and a sneering chorus, this track alone should have the band’s diehard fans drinking, fighting and fucking like there teenage-selves all over again.
Likewise, ‘Free Your Love’, the other track that was aired live back in 2019, which has a kind of ‘Towers Waltz’ stop/start feel about it, and possesses a soaring middle 8 that shows just how much the band has also matured in the songwriting department. Something that becomes abundantly clear when ‘Push It The Same Way’ chugs in on a powerpop riff to die for. This is easily my favourite song of the five on offer here, and whilst there are hints of the Towers of old during the chorus, it’s the use of the aforementioned synths during the verses that really do make this song a true work of genius, and if this is the sound of things to come from the band then, just like Noddy, I’m all (big) ears.
‘Amazing’ which ends the EP is another Towers songwriting curveball, as it somehow manages to remind me of Blur, Abba, Ozzy and U2 all at once, yet it’s still immediately recognisable as Towers Of London, and the chorus on this one really is, ahem, amazing in its simplicity, and as well know now, sometimes less can indeed be more.
True to Towers’ form ‘Yet To Be’ surprised me, so much so I initially hated it, and now (after a day of playing it non-stop) I absolutely love it, however, as it’s only available on streaming platforms at the moment, who really knows what’s next? Will we get to finally hear the third album, or get to see the long overdue Towers’ documentary, and with the UK live scene slowly returning to as normal as it can be right now, what about a coast to coast tour to promote it all?
Whatever happens next, I can’t fucking wait!
Author: Johnny Hayward