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Young Rebel Set: Curse Our Love

Greetings from North East England.

The steady procession of rousing rockers and stirring ballads that make up the debut album from this seven-piece band from Stockton-on-Tees reeks of a determination and dedication that’s hard to fault.

Singer Matthew Chipchase’s vocals have a gritty edge that propels the songs and the band are clearly well honed. Unfortunately the lacklustre, homespun production does the band no favours, failing to bring out any of the dynamics that are crucial when it comes to songs that are so obviously influenced by the likes of Springsteen, The Clash, Dylan and even The Pogues.

Without this essential spark, Young Rebel Set are left sounding earnest rather than passionate. It’s a shame because songs like the pacey opener Lion’s Mouth, the bittersweet ballad Red Bricks, the driving Borders and the blue collar sentiments of Measure Of A Man all deserve better.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.