Night On Earth
OK, listening to much of Rialto’s latest, Night On Earth, I’m in Brit-rock hog heaven. Turn back the clock to the mid-’90s, give me real ales, pickled pork pies, and a Mini Cooper in which to listen to this disc. Like these blighty classics, Rialto are immediately recognizable as “British” in that same way that David Bowie, The Kinks, Pulp, Suede, and The Smiths are.
From the start, Night On Earth sets the bar extremely high. The first two tracks are as strong as anything on their stateside self-titled debut. In fact, it’s remarkably similar to the debut on this count. That record began with the stellar “Monday Morning 5:19” and “Dream Another Dream.” Night On Earth kicks off with the expansive “London Crawling” and the instant hit “Anything Could Happen.” As a sucker for Suede’s plastic future pop on Coming Up, I find most of the songs on Night On Earth utterly irresistible. Perhaps the attraction is something like nostalgia at this point. Gone are the days when NME killed Moz and fabricated the media war between Blur and Oasis. Right now, it must be harder than hell for labels and PR folks to get anyone to give two pence for the latest from Gene or The Charlatans UK. The lyrics Louis Eliot (Rialto’s lead singer) emotes on “Anyone Out There?” are just too apropos: “And I’m standing alone in a crowded room/. . . Is there anyone out there?/There must be somebody somewhere.” Maybe that somebody got older, started listening to hip hop, or became a fascist soccer hooligan and abandoned effeminate music altogether.
In any case, if you can see beyond all the American and Brit journo nonsense about the declension of Brit-pop and appreciate this record for what it is, you won’t be disappointed. Eliot can still belt out a fine sad melody as on “Catherine’s Wheel,” “Brilliant Fake,” and “Shatterproof.” That’s good . . . even “brilliant.” For that reason alone, I’m still listening with relish.