Northern Ireland's The Answer are celebrating the tenth anniversary of their debut album with a multi-format reissue, including its very first appearance on vinyl. Originally hitting worldwide sales in excess of 100,000, it's fair to say that 'Rise' was something of a storming success, and pivotal in kickstarting the career and ascension of this lot's popularity. Ten years on, does it sound dated? Of course, but it sounded hideously dated when originally released in 2006, such is the nature of their retro rock stylings. It has, of course, been remastered, although its anachronistic aural qualities seem to have been preserved and remain firmly intact, as it still sounds very much like a record straight out of the seventies. Paul Mahon's guitar leads do sound a touch too tinny, though, and the overall sonics are a tad muddy in places. Considering the primary source of The Answer's pastiched inspirations seem to be rooted in the seventies, a production, mix and (re)master to match is, at least, apt. However, it's a lovingly crafted pastiche, and with a genuinely infectious energy running through the very core of the compositions. It serves as a timely reminder just how The Answer burst onto the scene so emphatically ten years back.
A second disc of 'Rare Tracks' has been made available for review here, which comes with the 2CD hardback digipak (complete with a 28 page booklet), as well as other formats. This is one purely for the true aficionado of the band. A new 2016 mix of 'Under the Sky', opening track from 'Rise', opens proceedings, before a slew of demo tracks and small number of other rarities. For the casual fan, I guess they serve as little more than curiosity pieces, but the discerning fan will undoubtedly revel in reminiscing how the tracks evolved from their demo state to studio finality.
The Answer seemed to appear at just at the right time with 'Rise', when the popularity of the retro rock scene was booming. However, beyond bandwagon-jumping, they managed to make an album that stood shoulders above the majority of their contemporaries, and elevated themselves beyond the increasingly oversaturated scene from which they emerged. Proof was in the record sales. Will they sell another 100,000 now? I doubt it. Times have changed. But it's there for rediscovery, or discovery anew, for those who want to indulge in some retro-retro-rock.
RISE (10th ANNIVERSARY EDITION)
Review by Mark Holmes
48:06 & 54:19
17th June 2016
DISC ONE: 1) Under The Sky; 2) Never Too Late; 3) Come Follow Me; 4) Be What You Want; 5) Memphis Water; 6) No Questions Asked; 7) Into The Gutter; 8) Sometimes Your Love; 9) Leavin' Today; 10) Preachin'; 11) Always
DISC TWO: 1) Under The Sky; 2) Never Too Late; 3) New Day Rising; 4) Too Far Gone; 5) Preachin'; 6) Always; 7) Tonight; 8) So Cold; 9) Song For The People; 10) Take It Easy; 11) Not Listening; 12) Keep Believin; 13) Rise
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...beyond bandwagon-jumping, they managed to make an album that stood shoulders above the majority of their contemporaries, and elevated themselves beyond the increasingly oversaturated scene from which they emerged."