The story behind Late Model European’s first album, It’s Time, sets the scene for a rewarding listen. Tones Thorburn and John Nelson, old mates from Scotland, reconnected in New Zealand, got back to their old business of making music, and pulled together an old-fashioned record.
And it really, really is old-fashioned. Setting aside the fact that Crave! was supplied with an actual record, on vinyl and everything, just listen to the thing: lead single Summer Rain is a time capsule from the 1980s, from instrumentation to composition to production, and not entirely in a bad way.
The two claim influences ranging from Pink Floyd to Neil Young to AC/DC; while these influences might not be immediately identifiable as you listen to It’s Time, there’s a very clear sense of familiarity to much of the set. This could be read as being derivative, but there’s enough, down partly to Nelson’s quite distinctive slightly nasal but richly emotive singing voice, to give Late Model European’s sound its own character, while keeping it rooted in the 1980s motifs that the two clearly harbour fond memories of.
It’s hard to pick out standout tracks; there’s a comfortable, familiar, sense to much of the record, a sense that this is a record you’ve owned for decades. It’s not groundbreaking; listening to It’s Time for the first time won’t change the world the same way that, say, hearing Smells Like Teen Spirit for the first time did. But there are notable numbers. Eyes Wide Open has bite and harsh; Another Place, while not likely to set the musical firmament on fire, it s very agreeable, richly satisfying, atmospheric little thing that will make you feel like it’s been in your record collection since Ultravox first started using those synth sounds.
So get yourself a copy of It’s Time. It’s on iTunes, but somehow it wants to be an actual record, and it is available on 180g vinyl. Get yourself a copy, put on your skinny jeans and grow your hair into the flick you wore in your teen years, and let It’s Time take you back to a better time.