Betting on Now
REVIEWS: 'So, you like Neil Young, right? Sure you do; everybody likes Neil Young! Well...apart from all those folks who can't stand him. 'Sounds like a cat being strangled,' they say. 'And what was with that record he did back in '83?' they ask. 'With all those synthesizers and robots and stuff? What the hell was he thinking?' Although I can't say exactly what was going through Neil's head when he recorded 1983's seminal (in some minds) Trans (I'm guessing it was probably something along the lines of 'heh heh...I'll show those f***ers!'), I can assure you that despite Four Storeys' occasional (okay, more than occasional) resemblance to the aforementioned Grizzled One, folks on both sides of the Neil Young fence will greatly appreciate Betting on Now. This record is so chock-full of mournful, rootsy, twangy tunes that you'd never guess, if your life depended on it, that it's origins were not in a Nebraskan cornfield, but in misty, gray London town. Consisting of Nick Kerry on guitars and vocals, his brother Bob on bass and backing vox, Dan Goddard on drums and Pete Twyman on keys, Four Storeys make beautiful, mournful, morning-after music whose capability to move you is limited only by your capacity to feel. Beginning with 'Mea Culpa', a song that both sets the tone for the rest of the record and sounds little like anything that is to come, Four Storeys sound both familiar and innovative. Although the tremoloed vocals that start the song off might not be the best introduction to The Four Storeys' sound, the song quickly resolves itself into a languid, dreamy waltz, with Kerry wondering aloud 'Should I include you all in the master plan?' More typical is track two, 'Save Your Last Goodbye', which combines music-hall accordion, a shuffling beat and downcast lyrics like 'Old fashioned raindrops fall from the sky / You gaze out the window as the day passes by,' to marvelous effect. The record's high point, however, comes with tracks four and five, respectively. 'Fall Out' is a deliriously beautiful acoustic ballad with a thumping backbeat and drowsy steel guitar, in which Kerry asks the existential question 'Are we just fall out from the sky?' Kerry's voice is warm and rich, and when he harmonizes with his brother on the chorus, the result is magical. 'So Down On Me', on the other hand, rips a page directly out of Ragged Glory-era Neil Young -- not that it's a sprawling, eight-minute distortion-fest, but the song's central lick sounds exactly like what would happen if you melded 'Country Home' and 'Love and Only Love'. Not that that's a bad thing -- in fact, it's one of the best songs on the record. While the guitars certainly nip at Young's heels, the song is good enough that it simply doesn't matter. Elsewhere, Kerry gives us the dreamy choruses to 'No Guarantee' and 'Castaway', the catchy, poppy 'The Outside' (the lead line of which is carried by a banjo), and the jaunty, boozy 'Take Another Turn'. The music of Four Storeys is, in a word, timeless. Although Betting on Now was recorded in the new millennium, there's no reason that it couldn't have come out twenty or thirty years ago. That's not to say that these songs sound dated in any way; it's just that they don't subscribe to any trends, or sound as if they're tied to any particular era. They're simply great songs presented with passion, restraint and true skill.' Jeremy Schneyer - SPLENDID 'Sounding at times like Neil Young's long lost offspring, the combo that calls itself Four Storeys offers up a debut disc reminiscent of an intimate late night gathering, one that might begin with a bang but then lazily drfits off to dawn. Loose and low-key, the arrangements sound so unhinged at times they tread closer to the feel of demos rather than a deliberately polished production. And that works fine; singer Nick Kenny's Neil-like nuances give these songs an alluring innocence thatís supremely satisfying. When they mine a mellow Americana vein via 'Mea Culpa', 'Castaway' and 'Up in Arms,' their fragile melodies suggest an ethereal ambiance and surreal sensibility. At other times, the Storeys exude a cool confidence and vitality, particularly when it comes to a ragged rocker like 'So Down on Me,' the country rock rave-up 'Take Another Turn' and the album's most upbeat entry, 'The Outside.' Modest yet memorable, it's apparent the Storeys will realize their potential for even more potent tales as their future forays untold. As it is, Betting On Now provides Four Storeys with a firm foundation.' Lee Zimmerman - Amplifier Magazine 'Oxford, England's Four Storeys follow up their stellar 1999 debut single 'Castaway' with an equally potent full length effort. Led by brothers Nick and Simon Kenny formerly of vastly underrated mid-90's Mod revivalists Thurman, Four Storeys create effortlessly cool Byrds/Buffalo Springfield-flavored jangly guitar pop gems with mildly dark undertones that bring to mind The Velvet Underground c. their 1969 self-titled album. I'm betting that fans of contemporary groups like Britain's Delta and Mojave 3 or Californians such as Beachwood Sparks and Smallstone will love Betting On Now. Nick Kenny is an awesome vocal talent; his soulful melodies will soothe you like all your favorite Lennon, Gram Parsons, Dylan, and Neil Young records do. From the breathtaking 'Castaway' to the countryish 'Still Waiting' to the melancholic 'Fall Out' (not unlike Neil Young's 'Southern Man'), Betting On Now is one of the more captivating British records of recent years.' Ben Vendetta - The Big Takeover / Vendetta Magazine 'These guys have a kinda laidback, country feel, and remind me a bit of the Pernice Brothers and Beachwood Sparks. Actually, when I first heard 'Still Waiting...', I was also reminded of the later Tramway stuff. Really, though, I can tell these guys are coming more from the 70s AM radio field, with influences probably taken from Neil Young, America, and stuff like that. 'No Guarantee' & 'Take Another Turn' make me add Steely Dan to that list. The record is mostly acoustic-based, with lots of pedal steel, and that root note bass style (you know, 'bumm pum-pum, bumm pum-pum, repeat'). And the vocals are smooth, with lots of big harmonies. I'm not sure about the original issue, but this release adds their two tracks from their first single, which was released on Shifty Disco two years ago, and there's also a hidden track after several minutes of blank space on the last track . ' Indie Pages Debut record for this UK band, originally released on Truck Records, now re-released in North America on the Halifax label, Brobdingnagian. These guys have a kinda laidback, country feel, and remind me a bit of the Pernice Brothers and Beachwood Sparks. Actually, when I first heard 'Still Waiting...', I was also reminded of the later Tramway stuff. Really, though, I can tell these guys are coming more from the 70s AM radio field, with influences probably taken from Neil Young, America, and stuff like that. 'No Guarantee' & 'Take Another Turn' make me add Steely Dan to that list. The record is mostly acoustic-based, with lots of pedal steel, and that root note bass style (you know, 'bumm pum-pum, bumm pum-pum, repeat'). And the vocals are smooth, with lots of big harmonies. I'm not sure about the original issue, but this release adds their two tracks from their first single, which was released on Shifty Disco two years ago, and there's also a hidden track after several minutes of blank space on the last track (grr...). MTQ=9/11 'This is some of the best Neil Young/Byrds/The Band- esque songwriting I've heard in a long time. Fall Out has this great crying harmonica that's as good as Neil blowin' on it and Save Your Last Goodbye is another strummy and fragile number. If you decide that it's finally time to pick up that copy of Decade or Tonight's The Night put it back and get this.' Tim Hinely - Dagger 'Oxford, England's Four Storeys follow up their great 1999 debut single Castaway with an equally potent full-length effort. Four Storeys' debut album, Betting On Now has got to be one of the most interesting CDs I've listened to in a while. Sounding at times like Neil Young's long lost offspring is such a mood setter, in my opinion. Thi is one of those albums that should be heard as a soundtrack to a movie, which is based on a bunch of youths, going home at 6 am after along night of partying, the day before they move away to college. Happy and sad at the same time, in and out this album is great for the soul. Their fragile melodies suggest an ethereal ambiance and surreal sensibility, with songs like 'Mea Culpa,' 'Castaway,' and 'Up In Arms.' At other times, the Storeys portray a cool confidence and vitality, particularly when it comes to a ragged rocker like 'So Down On Me,' 'Take Another Turn' and the album's most upbeat entry, 'The Outside'. Modest yet memorable, it's apparent that Four Storeys will realize their potential for even more potent tales as their future unfolds.' Kevin Konkle - Freq.