The Now Capture Visceral Live Shows In Too Hot To Handle

Ladies and gentlemen, big rock is back. Fuelled by youthful energy and a passion for all things loud, South Wales four-piece The Now are adding their not-inconsiderable voices to the wave of new bands, recapturing the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll that passes the torch from one generation to the next.

The Now – Too Hot To Handle (Trew Music)

Release Date: Out Now

Words: Paul Monkhouse

Having made their name due to some truly visceral live shows, capturing that fire in the studio would never be an easy thing, but somehow, this full-length debut does.

The Now - Too Hot To Handle
The Now – Too Hot To Handle – One of the best debuts in the past decade.

And whilst some of the rougher edges are smoothed a little, there’s a huge, arena-filling sound here. Producer Oli Jacobs has brought all that’s truly impressive about the band to the fore and given them something that arguably makes Too Hot To Handle one of the best debuts in the past decade, the outfit on world-beating form.

Kicking off with the title track’s urgent riffing and skyscraping melodies, singer Shane Callaghan, guitarist Callum Bromage, drummer Will Scott and bass player Jay Evans have welded melody to enormous power.

This is extremely sussed writing. The boys have something to say and are shouting it from the rooftops, no throwaway lines or ego-induced self-aggrandisement. This is hardcore.

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Musically, there’s a whiff of fellow countrymen Stereophonics at their heaviest in their anthemic and riff driven soundscapes, the widescreen and radio friendly numbers like Get Out still being able to speak to the heart in a whisper.

Whilst Devil Inside Me is brawling and muscular, Live And Die is a beautiful, slower-paced ballad with a soul that never gets near schmaltz.

Stuttering and dangerous, Truth Always Comes Out In The End, and the freight train rush of His Last Dimension are both like being plugged directly into the mains.

But it’s not all just adrenaline-soaked heft here. Jacobs and the band bring all sorts of flavours and hues out of the mix. In the end, you may come for the immediacy and soaring quality of the songs, but it’s these little details in the production that really bring some extra joy into the experience, making this something that will certainly bear repeated listens and study.

Somehow capturing the inherent tensions between riotous and sensual, tracks like Girl You Got Me are like fireworks to the synapses, and their dazzling colours and moods are a feast for the ears.

With the big, flag-waving spirit of Friendly Fire handmade for the stages of Glastonbury, with a sea of dancing people in front of them, it’s hard not to see The Now become a very big band within a few years.

Certainly, the truly razorblade-sharp howl of Wind Up is full of a barely controlled power as it furiously twists, the lyrics boasting an intelligence and integrity that informs the whole album, and this, too, is a sense of purpose behind the drive.

Things come to a climax with the astounding Time Is Over, which somehow sounds like the result of a backstreet coupling between The Who and Queen on a drunken night out. Its cinematic panorama shot through with power and pain.

Great songs, intelligent writing, intuitive production, lyrics that mean something real and a band performing like their lives depended on it. You can’t get more rock ‘n’ roll than that. Meet your new addiction. The Now – Too Hot To Handle is available from here.

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