Guest blog: Ian McNabb reviews The Sums’ new album If Only

By Jade Wright on Dec 10, 11 10:27 AM in  (Taken from Liverpool  Echo)

In the next of our series of guest blogs, Ian McNabb reviews The Sums’ new album…

The Sums (Peter ‘Digsy’ Deary – Vocal, Guitar, Chris Mullin – Vocal, Bass, Lee Watson – Guitar, Chris Campbell – Drums) shine brightly on this their debut album ‘If Only’.

Digsy’s voice, melodies and caustic, smart as a whip lyrics pull the listener in whilst gently beating them about the head with his personal philosophies without ever sounding preachy or unfriendly. At his best he comes across as a wiser, older brother dispatching wisdom. Occasionally a little like a nastier Jeff Buckley.

Either way the charm he exudes is always captivating. The setting in which the songs are placed feature excellent, twisting and always interesting lead guitar figures by Lee Watson which are perfectly wrapped around precise rhythms conjured up by crack rhythm section Chris Mullin and Chris Campbell.

The opening sirens of Darken My Doorstep usher in a song that rocks along at a brisk pace, electric guitar high in the mix, slightly reminiscent of some of Peter Buck of R.E.M,’s earlier work. It’s a great opener and sets the tone for a set of songs (13 in all) which take you on a journey which never gets boring. Comeback Scumbag follows and is a mid-paced rocker with another great guitar figure complimented by a spooky, evocative keyboard break. Ride To Nowhere is an early highlight featuring a fabulous chorus and some great slide playing. Spilt Milk begins with a great acoustic guitar figure beneath a distorted vocal which moves along moodily before building into a nifty chorus.

The standard of tunes is high for the remainder of the album with credit going to Chris Mullin for co-writing a third of the songs with Digsy. Lee Watson really lets rip on this record, and the guitar is always up front and powerful without overwhelming the song or the singer. The wonderful Who Cares has long been a live favourite and may be the best song Digsy has ever penned. It’s chorus of “Go out forever!” is screaming to be heard coming back from the audience in a crowded venue near you sometime soon.

Overall a great and varied record. Hopefully one which will get to be heard and appreciated by many, which it deserves.

Album review by Ian McNabb 8/10

The Sums album “If Only” is available from Townsend Records on download and cd £9.99 and the first 200 sold will b signed http://www.townsend-records.co.uk/stores/thesums/

Out of the ashes of their previous band ‘Smaller’ rose ‘The Sums.’ Based in Liverpool , Smaller were a part of the UK Brit pop scene who smashed into the indie top 10 with classic singles taken from the critically acclaimed album Badly Badly, featuring the tracks, Wasted , God I hate this town and Is, with Noel Gallagher on guitar & ex La’s Barry Sutton also provided some fret action on the album. Richard Hawley also featured on un released material that was recorded before the demise of Smaller.

Icicle Works frontman Ian McNabb performs tonight (December 10) December at the Capstone Theatre and tickets are priced at £15 and available from 0151 709 3789.Then, an aftershow billed as Ian McNabb and Friends Christmas Show will take place following the show on Saturday 10 December at Eric’s on Mathew Street. Entry will be free to ticket holders from the Friday and Saturday theatre shows or it is £5 on door for non ticket holders. The Eric’s aftershow is on December 10 from 10pm till 2am.