Alfie

If You Happy with You Need Do Nothing

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Had Alfie's debut album, If You Happy With You Need Do Nothing, been released at the height of the Stone Roses or the peak of the Madchester scene, they'd have probably become unimaginably huge. Things being as they are, Alfie stands firmly beside I Am Kloot at the top of the British new acoustic movement. If You Happy is a gorgeously successful and cohesive dose of baggy, catchy, and folky rock tunes. The cohesion is somewhat remarkable considering that the album is a collection of the band's first three EPs, along with the addition of two unreleased tracks: "2 up 2 Down" and "Umlaut." Alfie's unique sound is a swirl of peaceful acoustic guitars, sparkling xylophones, violins, upright bass, inexpensive keyboards, and harmonica. Topped off by frontman Lee Gorton's Ian Brown-meets-Tim Burgess-meets-Noel Gallagher lazy, cool vocals, these 11 songs display inspiration ranging from the Rolling Stones, the Stone Roses, the Charlatans UK, Mercury Rev, and a little bit of My Bloody Valentine's epic shoegazing thunder. Highlights abound, but chief among them are the rolling neo-psychedelic folk opener "Bookends"; "It's Just About the Weather," which sounds as if it matches the production desk of George Martin with the hazy dazzle of the the Charlatans UK; the magnificent, catchy, and playful "You Make No Bones," which could easily be a B-side to The Stone Roses; and the final three songs that close the album with stunning, subtle grace. Like the Clientile, Alfie operates with rarified, pastoral tones, and also like the Clientile, they've released a debut EP collection that is in every respect a masterpiece. It's unusual when an EP collection comes across like a greatest-hits collection, but the album is that good. Alfie transcends their genre with If You Happy With You Need Do Nothing and easily mark themselves as masters on the rise.

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