||The Lemon Tree
||Over 14s (under 16s with an adult)
||+ The King Lot
||All Tickets = £14
The road to rock ‘n’ roll glory is littered with the smouldering remnants of bands that blazed brightly for a few brief moments and then fizzled out in a cloud of thwarted ambitions. But every now and then a band emerges that walk, talk and rock like true saviours of our beloved music’s spirit and soul.
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Founded in Northern Ireland in 2000, The Answer have spent the last 13 years proving their rock ‘n’ roll credentials and making the kind of life-affirming, eardrum-threatening music that separates the truly great from the merely adequate. And now the band are poised to unleash their fourth studio album, the insanely exhilarating New Horizon: not just the strongest, catchiest and most thrillingly vital album of their career to date, but also a fearsome statement of intent that obliterates the competition and showcases their trademark rock'n'roll evangelism. Joining forces with acclaimed producer and Little Angel, the mighty Toby Jepson, they have seldom sounded as electrified by their own celebratory sound as they do on this latest immaculate sonic offering.
“We started off the album process the same away as usual, by getting in a room and jamming like motherfuckers, taping everything and going back to the best ideas,” explains frontman Cormac Neeson. “The difference this time, especially once Toby was on board, was that we had a discussion about the album we wanted to make, we made a very clear game plan and we stuck to it. Every time we felt like wandering off and indulging ourselves, we’d rein it in and focus on making an album of direct rock ‘n’ roll songs that’d make you want to get on the dance floor and shake your shit!”
After a few self-financed, low-key releases, The Answer emerged into the mainstream spotlight in 2005 when their debut single Keep Believin’ became the subject of great critical acclaim and led The Answer to the ‘Best New Band’ award at that year’s Classic Rock Awards. The following year, this young band consolidated that early promise with Rise, a debut album that received universally great reviews and backed up their burgeoning reputation with fistfuls of gloriously anthemic songs like Under The Sky, Into The Gutter and Come Follow Me that delighted everyone from cantankerous classic rock fans to bright-eyed teenagers with a penchant for balls-out rock ‘n’ roll. Rise went on to sell over 100,000 copies worldwide, a startling achievement that ensured that when the band released their second album, the mighty Everyday Demons, two years later, the world was more than ready to embrace The Answer on an even greater scale. The end result of their fearsome reputation, both as an astonishing live band and as rock’s brightest hopes, was a two-year stint as chief support to AC/DC, which took them around the world and into some of the biggest venues on the planet.
“We were thrown to the wolves a lot of nights on the road with AC/DC and all we had to fall back on was the four of us playing together,” recalls mercurial guitar hero Paul Mahon. “We had to make it work and dig in really hard. After all that time on the road, our songwriting’s so much tighter, all the fat has been stripped away and we’re much more direct. songs that we had in that vein seemed to go down with their audiences, and we took all of that on board.”
Following the success of Everyday Demons and that triumphant cross-global trek with AC/DC, The Answer furthered their reputation and creative aims with 2011’s astonishing Revival. By expanding their sound and daring to dream beyond the limits of their core influences, Northern Ireland’s finest proved that they had grown, both as a band and as songwriters. Countless positive reviews and a uniformly ecstatic from their ever-growing fan base confirmed the enormity of the album’s artistic bravado and the shows that followed, which saw The Answer headlining in bigger venues than ever before in the UK and Europe, consolidated their ferocious forward momentum. Meanwhile, some unexpected behind-the-scenes turbulence briefly threatened to derail the band’s runaway train to glory. Ever the diehard rock troopers, The Answer made some tough decisions, recruiting new management and signing to a new label, thus ensuring that their future would very much be conducted on their own terms.
Newly revitalised, the band spent much of 2012 writing the songs that have now been brought vividly to life on their extraordinary fourth album, New Horizon. From the bullish bluster of the opening title track and the irresistibly catchy thud ‘n’ thrust of Spectacular through to the muscular grooves and blues-infused swagger of Baby Kill Me (which was co-written with acclaimed British singer/songwriter Cosmo Jarvis) and the bold and brash call-to-arms of Scream A Louder Love, New Horizon’s 10 gleaming anthems offer a strident and skilful update of The Answer’s ageless manifesto. This is rock ‘n’ roll as it was always meant to be: raging with confidence and belief, crackling and sparking with feral energy and exhibiting the kind of sublime compositional flair that separates the instantly classic from the merely mundane.
“We want every album to count, but we wanted this one to have a very direct impact and to present a very clear, concise statement about who we are,” says Cormac. “We did a lot of soul-searching and found we really wanted to hone in on the groove, a lot more so than on the last record. That was the foundation for every song. We found a groove that worked, jammed round it and then pieced the song together. Lyrically, too, I tried to get my message across without being too simplistic but also without being too out there. I wanted to present my message like a Northern Irish guy should, with no frills and totally in your face.”
New Horizon will explode onto the world of rock ‘n’ roll in September 2013, replete with artwork created by much-missed album art legend Storm Thorgerson (Pink Floyd/Led Zeppelin/Muse), and The Answer will immediately hit the road to take their infectious gospel of good rockin’ times and super-amplified soul back to their global army of devoted fans. With grand plans to continue their passionate pursuit of world domination over the next 18 months, New Horizon is the album that The Answer have always threatened to make and their future looks brighter, louder and more unstoppably triumphant than ever.
“We’re still here, we’re definitely re-energised and the belief is as strong as it ever was,” proclaims Cormac. “Our blood’s up and we can’t wait to get out there and play these new songs for our fans and get things moving. This album is the true representation of what the essence of this band is all about. We’re fired up and ready to go!”
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