Album: The Hours

Narcissus Road, A&M
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The Independent Culture

A duo tipped for stardom, The Hours offer a new take on the piano-pop formula that has proven so successful for Keaneplay and their ilk. Though similar in many respects, Narcissus Road employs a tougher, funkier approach than those bands, and incorporates more interesting musical choices, notably the marching rhythm of "I Need to Know" and the Adam & the Ants drum tattoo that carries "Love You More". Thematically, the album is dominated by the priority placed by Antony Genn and Martin Slattery on authenticity and steadfastness of character: the title-track deals with a girl whose self-obsession has not yet led to self-knowledge, while "Back When You Were Good" ticks off an acquaintance whose good reputation long since foundered, leaving them as a pernicious social vampire. Set against such failures are the heroes of "Icarus", a tribute to a friend laid low by vaunting ambition and parental spite, and the example of "Ali in the Jungle", where the perseverance and nobility under pressure of such figures as Ali offers a sharp contrast to the minor tribulations so loudly bemoaned elsewhere. A promising debut.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "Ali in the Jungle", "Back When You Were Good", "I Need to Know"