The Loaded Dice are a unique band in more than one way. they’re doing something not many people are doing at the moment and going back several decades in their influences to good old fashioned rock and roll. No dubstep, no indie-pop and no crazy synthesizers. The other thing that’s quite unique (or mad, at first glance, perhaps) is that they won UK Live and Unsigned and REJECTED the contract they were offered. For any band, that’s got to take some guts. Instead, they kept on chipping away at what they were doing in their hometown in North Wales and last year took the plunge to move together to Manchester and now are regulars on the gig circuit there. They describe themselves as an “almost ‘old school’ rock band” and this is pretty accurate when it comes to their riffs and vocals – you don’t hear a lot like this these days. I reviewed their album, ‘Hindsight of a Brand New Soul: Halo of Fireflies’.
The album begins with ‘Time to Burn’ and goes straight into a gospel-type intro, showcasing some nice harmonies an d shifting into some old-school mournful riffs. Frontman James’ ennui-soaked vocals kick in with definite grungey influences and the electric guitar solos ensue.
This theme continues throughout the album, with noticeably mournful lyrics, there is a lot of sadness in these boys’ hearts. Or they’re just, you know, good at writing songs.
The mood picks up a bit in ‘Cadillac’ with some happy-sounding riffs throughout, but quickly dips again in the next song, ‘The Witches’ which features an acoustic guitar, which shows a slightly softer side whilst still featuring those grungey vocals and snappy songwriting.
‘Maniac’ is drum- and riff-heavy, before the sober ‘Bubblegum’ which features just an electric guitar, James’ vocals and some hard-to-hit notes. The album carries on at a similar pace as before and then comes to ‘Fire and Water’ which has a wild-Western feel which I rather enjoyed for all the twang-y twists and turns and minimalism, and the album continues with songs with ranging tempos including the angsty ‘Camera Shy Hurricane’ and ending in the reflective ‘Crowded Room’.
If you like old-school alternative rock, you’ll definitely like this. Despite not really listening to this type of thing normally, after a couple of listens I caught myself nodding along and enjoyed it. And if you’re in Manchester, see if you can check them out. They’ll have an album coming out this year, so watch this space.