Album Review by Kris Griffiths
Liverpool in recent years has been a hotbed of new talent, what with the three Cs – Clinic, The Crescent and The Coral – all emerging with rave reviews and the potential for long and successful careers. Following swiftly in their footsteps is Reno, and like The Coral their music is as eclectic as it gets.
Hailing from the same stable as Groove Armada, Reno are Phil Burns and Andy Holt who met each other on a sound engineering course in their home town: Phil, a man who helped create the 1989 dance smash VOODOO RAY by A Guy Called Gerald, was Andy’s tutor. After lifting their name from Reno Raines – the main character in insomniac Andy’s favourite late-night show ‘Renegade’ – the duo sidetracked the long road to recognition and was almost instantly signed to Zomba on the strength of their first demo.
The demo must have been pretty damn good if debut album THINKING ABOUT THE GOOD TIMES is anything to go by. Whilst the two take care of all guitars, keyboards and programming on the record, their vocal skills apparently leave a lot to be desired so three different vocalists were taken on board.
Rave veteran Marina Van Rooy appears on album opener PRETTY, the music of which audibly throws back to the sixties. The relaxed funk of track three, WHEN YOU’RE IN LOVE, features Gina Davies and the ensuing COSTA (IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY) exhibits the skills of fellow songwriter Dave Barrett. At first sounding like a boy-band ballad, COSTA gradually shows its true colours as a soul soaked gem with vocals not out of place on a Luther Vandross record. It is rightfully the first single.
Elsewhere on the album one can pick out influences ranging from Simon and Garfunkel to St Etienne and eighties pop to trip-hop. There isn’t really a continuous stylistic thread running through it rather that a blend of styles are successfully intertwined. The result is an impressive debut offering laden with songs to suit every mood. There should be plenty of good times ahead for Reno to think about.