"Imagine finding a time capsule with New Order, The Zombies, Supergrass, Madness, The Beach Boys and Dusty Springfield all playing at the same time and you're getting there."
That was the description given to the music of Dublin based northern soulsters Saville by Leagues in The Event Guide and when you listen to their debut album Is Anybody Happier Today? you'll see why. I would add The Divine Comedy, Lightning Seed and Prefab Sprout to the list. Saville's influences are wide and varied with the emphasis on melodic pop sensibility.
This is an album that features pop music as it should be. Hotpress named it 'Album of the Fortnight' and the Dublin Event Guide named it 'Album Of the Week'.
The album is a collection of twelve original songs of a genre that is sadly far too rare in these days of bland commerciality. This is classy pop that is inspired, fresh and alive. This is the sound of modern pop songs that triple our heartbeats and stretch grins on our faces 'till it hurts. This is a band who have a knack for gloriously chirpy melodies and a nice line in hummalongability. This is a rare masterpiece. This is Saville.
Two of the band, Ken and Tosh, traveled from Dublin recently to spend some time on the Irish Music show to talk about the album and about the band in general.
Ken: "We have had a few releases up to now but this is the first full album. We had an EP on release in Spain only.
Tosh: "Yea and that cost us exactly £47.50 to make and that's including sandwiches and crisps and everything!"
Ken: "It was a decision we made a long time ago. Make a full album without going through the demo stage."
How does my comparison to the Divine Comedy, Lightning Seeds and Prefab Sprout sit with the lads?
Ken: "That's fine by me. I love Paddy McAloon. Whenever I sit down to write I put on one of his CDs and I feel like I just want to keep on writing."
What were the thoughts of the band as the album came to nearing completion?
Tosh: "We had this collective vision as to how we wanted the album to sound and it was always a deliberate thing, we were focused and this is the album we were going to make. We were a bit worried that people would think 'Jeez, these guys don't know what they are up to'."
Ken: "Before we had the album written we knew the album we wanted it to be. A lot of the hard work is the actual talking about the songs we wanted. We would know what we were looking for especially the rhythm we wanted."
What are the influences on the band?
Tosh: "Everything! Obviously the Beatles. The Kinks, The Who. We also listen to Kraftwerk as well and then we could listen to the Buzzcocks or the Prodigy. You name it and we are likely to have listened to it."
Ken: "We want to try to go into different areas and try different things but it is important to us to have that pop sensibility and it HAS to be led by a good tune. The one thing about the album is the coherent sound. Good tunes throughout. That is the central thing. We found ourselves stopping if the songs were sounding too much like a given musician. The First Pop Star In Space is probably the one song that does have a very obvious link to a particular style, that is to say it does sound a lot like Prefab Sprout. Mind you, you are the first person to point that out but that's fine by us."
What happens now for the band?
Ken: "Well, we kinda did things backwards. We have released an album then we release a single. What we did do to promote the album was to make a video and we shot a video for Dancing Star. We shot it in an old theatre in Cork. Usually the single would come first with the video then the album but we decided to do it the other way round."
What has the reaction to the album among your peers been like?
Ken: "Honestly? It has been brilliant. We went recently to see another band play and before they came on stage they were playing our album over the PA which was wonderful. It's really important us what other musicians feel and say."
How do the guys set about writing a song?
Ken: "It usually starts out with us deciding what we want to write about and then we always want a big sound to go with it. I love the whole idea of the three-minute simple song but with a different slant on it. That's the most difficult part, trying to do something that nobody has heard before."
How did the band finance the project?
Ken: "It was not a big budget to start with. This album was recorded in my bedroom!"
Tosh: "If you look at the sleeve notes you will see that it was recorded at Earnest Studios. Erne Street is where I live so we just pushed the two names together and came up with the name! What we didn't want to do was put 'recorded in Ken's bedroom'."
What's all this about the band and Ray Davies?
Ken: "At a recent gig of his we asked him to sing of his a song that was not well known called All My Friends Were There and he was delighted that he had a request for that. He said from the stage that it was for the guys in Saville and all our friends WERE there so it was great really. We will be doing some work with... remember The Crazy World of Arthur Brown?... well I met him and he gave me his autograph and it read 'to Ken, the king of rock and roll'. We will be backing him up at a Jimi Hendrix night that is coming up soon and we will be playing with Noel Redding also."
Saville are a band that, if given the budget to record properly, could produce the mother of all albums. It's no secret to listeners of the Irish Music Show that I LOVE this album and Dancing Star has also been playlisted on WLRfm as well as serious airplay nationally.
Next big thing? Who knows, but if you want an album that satisfies then Is Anybody Happier Today is one of the best Irish albums that you can buy right now.
Saville's Official Site
Saville at the Open Directory Project
Roddy Cleere's Irish Music Show on WLRfm
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Last updated 29 April 2002
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Interviews from Roddy Cleere's Irish Music Show