Personnel: Alex Lowe (vocals, guitar, mandolin); Carlo Mariani (guitar); Steve Ransome (piano, keyboards, background vocals); Chris Campbell (drums).
Audio Mixer: Karsten Bötcher.
Recording information: RSD Studios, Turriff, Aberdeenshire.
Originally a collaboration between Ride guitarist Andy Bell and Scottish boxer turned singer/songwriter Alex Lowe, Hurricane #1 released two well-received albums on Alan McGee's Creation Records in the '90s before Bell left the band and ultimately joined as bassist with Oasis. After Bell's departure, Hurricane #1 called it a day and Lowe embarked on a solo career. In 2013, with three solo albums to his credit as well as a fruitful career as an abstract impressionist painter, Lowe was diagnosed with cancer. After successfully undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Lowe decided to put together a new Hurricane #1 lineup, a decision encouraged by McGee. Borrowing an infamous phrase that has been attributed to both Charles Bukowski and Kinky Friedman, Hurricane #1's first new album in 16 years, 2015's Find What You Love and Let It Kill You, is a return to the group's anthemic classic rock and '60s psych rock-influenced sound. Amicably moving forward without Bell, Hurricane #1 functions primarily as an outlet for Lowe's melodic, Faces-esque compositions. Heavily, if somewhat unfairly, compared to Oasis when they debuted in 1997, the new Hurricane #1 still retains some of that band's swaggering melodicism. That said, 20 years on from "Cool Britannia" and the Blur vs. Oasis battles of the '90s, Lowe now seems to wear the mantle of Brit-pop survivor with the befitting gravitas and hard-won pride of a guy who's suffered worse agonies than being compared to another band. Cuts like the leadoff "Best Is Yet to Come" and the rollicking "Think of the Sunshine" are groovy, '60s-style folk-rock songs buoyed nicely by Lowe's throaty croon. Similarly, Lowe reveals a fondness for rootsy Americana, as on the twangy, sad-eyed "Coyote Ahoy" and the driving, Byrds-ian "Heathen Mother." That said, Lowe the boxer lives on, and cuts like "Crash" and "Where to Begin" are bluesy guitar fuzz-soaked anthems, with flashes of festival muscle reminiscent of Hurricane #1's early sound. By the time you get to the haunting sacred choral-tinged album closer, a spare, moaning synth set against Lowe's harmonized and repeated vocal refrain of "Find what you love, and let it kill ya," it becomes clear that for Lowe, reuniting Hurricane #1 is less about celebrating past glories than defying the odds and moving forward. ~ Matt Collar