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Lisa Torem examines the 2012 debut album of the Liverpool Legends, the Beatles tribute band managed by George Harrison's sister Louise, which consists of entirely self-written material
When Louise Harrison, sister of the late Beatle George Harrison, met Marty Scott, who portrays her brother in the quartet the Liverpool Legends, they immediately bonded. Louise now manages the band, which works with high schools to develop Beatles-themed fundraising programmes.
The band is immensely popular in Branson, in the US state of Missouri in which they developed a ten-year show. But they also sell out internationally, as they recreate the British Invasion sound that changed the world.
The Legends not only replicate The Beatles’ entire career, but they also draw from the solo careers of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison at their concerts. They dress the part, whether that means wearing three-piece suits or psychedelic hippie garb - and of course, their hairstyles reflect the times too.
It seemed to be only a matter of time before they would write their own material, and the time has come. Their new album, ‘It is What It isn't’ contains a dozen original songs, each with its own flavour and theme. Remaining true to what they do best, you will definitely find that their soaring harmonies, descending basslines and simple themes about lost loves, romantic contentment and youthful imaginings recall the four famous lads, yet these songs are refreshingly unique.
The barrelhouse piano makes ‘Take Me Back to 30’ a real charmer. The lyrics celebrate nostalgia without being maudlin. “Oh, what it was, each and every day in the morning sun…”
‘Condescending’ cuts a bit deeper: “I’m so good at pretending everything will be alright, falling in love again seems so hard to do.” And much like those early Beatles songs, this one touches the heart, simply but directly.
‘Vanishing Haze’ is an ode to psychedelia and features an exciting orchestral build as opposed to the plaintive ‘Anymore’, in which the lines unfurl like classic poetry: "Goodbye things that might have been" says a lot early on. A singular note on guitar echoes the earnest vocals, whilst the title song is enhanced by wailing electric. In contrast, ‘Two Can Play’ is a compelling confluence of tonalities.
This album has a dreamy quality. ‘So Many Years Ago’ is a perfect example. The ensemble is tight with bold, brassy bass, yet there’s a lot of breathing space, where harmonies flow effortlessly and the keyboards have a chance to shine. And optimism reigns. ‘Come Alive’ is another song based on a simple message, but that’s all it requires. “All our love will never cease” is a strong line, built on hope and commitment. Even the bittersweet ‘Raining Down All Day’ which deals with rejection is uplifting.
‘It is What It isn't’ is what it is because the Liverpool Legends really know how to construct moving material that’s easy on the ear but satisfying for the soul.
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