THINK LOCAL, ACT GLOBAL is the mantra of single-issue activists. And it should be the slogan Richard Stone writes on his hands every day as he sets about to make his name more meaningful than a natural-made object.
Stone hails from Leicester and his debut album gained a lot of airplay on BBC Leicester and in other city and county-wide outlets.
Now he has an umbrella to work under: A Blue Flame. And a second album What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remains. The rest of the UK and Europe beckon.
It has lush 60s melodies that remind me of Bill Pritchard, another doyen of English sensibilities, who may not be a name that immediately springs to mind, but he is relatively well-known in Belgium. Which is more impressive than you might think because there’s two of them.
A Blue Flame are adept at stringing together tales of everyday mundanity and pleasures, with a dashing, neo-orchestral strumming of guitars and gentle clang of drums. The Girl Inside of You is the perfect example of this modus operandi, evoking days of watching “The Great Escape on the TV screen” as it builds to a crushing crescendo.
From God On Down sees the band dip into reggae, and it sounds like one of the few UB40 tracks they wrote themselves after 1989. But Out There Somewhere is the kind of grinding full-on indie rock Porky can lap up all day. Mindless chanting and brief verses, what more do you need?
Marlborough Park Avenue is a daydream into a perfect, ice cream kind of day, of which there isn’t many in England’s East Midlands. I uttered a hearty laugh at the line “I found An A-Z missing the index”, but Stone was clearly so stunned by his own cleverness that he mistakenly repeated it a few more times.
I won’t pretend that What We’ve Become … is in any way a trendsetting work, but it works in such magnificent influences, deft lyrics and the sound of small town, housing estate England that makes it irresistible.