Album Review: Bailey – “Long Way Down”
Essentially, the story of Nigel Bailey is one of working class kid makes good. After half a lifetime playing the pub circuit in covers bands, Nige’ (we’ll call him ‘Nige’ from now, it adds a bit of glamour) switched to writing his own material in the early 2000s. The next step is a little blurry, but it appears these tracks fell into the hands of Frontiers Records supremo Serafino Perugino, and he was suitably impressed to offer Big Nige’ a record deal. And so it came to pass that in 2014, with the help of a few hired hands, Bailey formed the band Three Lions and released a debut album.
Only, this isn’t that record. Inside a year of that release, our Nige’ has escaped the confines of that band and unleashed his debut solo effort, Long Way Down.
Now here’s the thing, even as a nipper, I was never sold on this idea that rock n’ roll belonged exclusively to the young. At any age should someone feel the creative need and want to pick up a guitar, then more power (chords) to them. There might however, be a reason we associate the rock n’ roll spirit with zits, hormones and sexual frustration, and that would be fresh ideas, the ‘virgin’ spirit of ingenuity and youthful rebellion.
All of the eleven tracks here are, to a penny, fine slabs of well-written, well-recorded, smartly-executed hook laden dad-rock (sorry if that sentence took a while to get to the point… welcome to the melodic rock scene). On the downside, there’s not a single amoeba here of anything evolutionarily original. Lyrically, it feels like Nigel Bailey has been rifling through David Coverdale’s bins, whilst the late 80s rock-radio friendly guitar hooks drip like freshly melted Gruyère. Even the album cover art feels like someone picked up a back issue of Fireworks magazine, pointed and went “I want that one”.
Whether you’ll enjoy this record comes down to how much any of this matters. If you’re happy enough to ‘sup down another real ale and enjoy the same recycled riffs you’ve heard a hundred times before, then this could be your Christmas. If you’re punching for something that in some way challenges (rather than salutes) the status quo, look elsewhere.