Monday, 11 April 2016

Album Review: Pre-Drinks by Joe McCorriston (by Emma Prew)

I first came across Joe McCorriston when Colin and I went to see John Allen at the Lock Tavern in Camden last October. It was actually Joe who was the headlining act, although we hadn’t known about him before, and rightly so as he turned out to be excellent. He earned himself a new fan that night and so when he announced a new EP, ahead of the release of his upcoming third album, I was keen to take a listen.

Pre-Drinks is a 4-track EP recorded live with Sean Barnes of Two-Faced Music Production and features 2 acoustic versions of songs from the forthcoming album, 1 brand new song and 1 Alkaline Trio cover. Also the EP is free to download on Bandcamp right now, so go go go!

The EP starts with the brand new track, only written last month, titled My Hero. Being a purely acoustic track, the main focus is on Joe’s northern-tinged vocals with some fast-paced chord strumming underneath. It’s a song about choosing a life on the road, touring around and playing music – even if it’s not much of a way to ‘make a living’. Starting with the line ‘Gearing up for the UK tour, we can’t let standards drop’, this theme brings to mind Gaz Brookfield – someone who I’m sure Joe has toured with! The reason for the title is revealed towards at the end of the song with the lyrics, that reflect on the first line of the song, ‘Gearing up for the long drive home, just 16 hours to go. The driver of this bus he is my hero.’ 

The second song on Pre-Drinks, Alive, is going to be on the new album (I don’t know what said new album is called or even when it’ll be released, unfortunately). It is a song about simply wanting to be, well, alive without worrying about things like what you weigh or what your social status may be. Featuring a catchy and empowering chorus ‘I just want to be living for the right reasons, singing during every season…’ that I can imagine a crowd singing along to. Perhaps I will be part of that crowd at a future Joe McCorriston gig, I sure hope so anyway!

Ce La Vi Pt. 2 is also set to be on the upcoming album and it’s a song I actually remembering hearing played live when I saw him last year. In fact, if I remember rightly, he then transitioned into a cover of The 26 by Apologies, I Have None. The EP version, however, doesn’t feature any Apologies lyrics but it’s easy to see why he chose to blend the two songs when playing live – they both have a fairly negative lyrics and a somewhat bitter feel, at least to begin with. The song is slower than the previous tracks on Pre-Drinks but that allows for Joe to properly express his emotions in the lyrics. Of course, as the title suggests, Ce La Vie Pt. 2 ends on a more positive note – ‘Now I’m free, ce la vi.’  (Ce la vi, or c’est la vie, is a way of saying ‘it’s just one of those things’ or ‘what’s done is done’ or maybe even hakuna matata…)

The final track on Pre-Drinks is a cover of a band and song we all know and love – Alkaline Trio’s Mercy Me. Joe’s take on the song is not too far from the original aside from the fact that it’s slowed down, stripped back and sung by a northern English chap! That said, I really like it and if for some crazy reason I’d never heard the Alkaline Trio song then maybe I wouldn’t even know that it was a cover. It’s certainly a great end to Pre-Drinks and I’m looking forward to what the next full album brings.

You can download and stream Pre-Drinks here.
And find Joe McCorriston on Facebook here.