Noise Annoys: Rory Nellis & Philip Watts d'Alton, Neil Brogan, Problem Patterns and Jim Bob

Jim Bob is back with Thanks For Reaching Out
Jim Bob is back with Thanks For Reaching Out Jim Bob is back with Thanks For Reaching Out
Rory Nellis. Picture by Joe Laverty
Rory Nellis. Picture by Joe Laverty Rory Nellis. Picture by Joe Laverty

:: Rory Nellis & Philip Watts d'Alton – The Evening Light (single, self-released)

WE KICK off this week's Noise Annoys in fine style with a new anthemic duet from Belfast singer/songwriter extraordinaire Rory Nellis and his long-time collaborator, Phil d'Alton, of ex-Master & Dog pedigree and also a solo artist in his own right, trading under the name Philip Watts d'Alton.

Phil has produced Rory's last three albums, but now, having presumably had time to get a good grasp of each other's musical capabilities/sensibilities, the pair have decided to team-up for a co-write – and very good it is too.

Philip Watts d'Alton
Philip Watts d'Alton Philip Watts d'Alton

To quote the accompanying press release, "The Evening Light isn't the first song they’ve ever written together, but it is the first one they've ever finished."

Happily, it was well worth their while, as the pair combine complimentary soothing croons to fine effect for this upliftingly melodic yet melancholy-tinged ballad, carefully crafted on piano and guitar and guaranteed to make you feel a bit better about whatever ails you after a listen or three.

More, please.

Stream/buy The Evening Light now via linktr.ee/Rorynellis and stay tuned to Noise Annoys for more details on how to order Rory's imminent live album – which was also produced by Phil, who even abandons his mixing desk to at one point to make a live cameo – which was recorded at The Black Box in Belfast a couple of months ago.

:: Neil Brogan – Big Feelings (single, self-released)

Neil Brogan
Neil Brogan Neil Brogan

FORMER Sea Pinks leader Neil Brogan actually has a brand new album called Yrs Truly out this week (today, in fact, for those reading in finger-smudging black and white), but Noise Annoys hasn't had a chance to spend enough time with it yet for a proper review.

However, let the record reflect that first impressions are good, and if you liked the recent single Chlorine Gardens – a deceptively breezy and uptempo number which I'm fairly sure was going to be the title track of the album at one point – and/or his current release, Big Feelings – two-minutes, thirty-seconds of wry, playfully angsty three-chord jangle pop packed with lots of exciting lead guitar action – then you're going to love it, probably.

Check those out right now at neilbrogan.bandcamp.com, and if 'now' = Friday or later, then you might even be able to hear the whole record on a try before you buy basis, you lucky scamps.

:: Problem Patterns – Letter of Resignation (single, Alcopop!)

Problem Patterns mean business
Problem Patterns mean business Problem Patterns mean business

OK, SO this one has been out for ages now, but you're getting a review anyway, as the stars have only just aligned for me to get some actual words about it into print/online. Besides, just because it came out almost a month ago doesn't mean it's any less of a cracker now.

Letter of Resignation is the queer punk quartet's second single since signing to Alcopop! Records, and anyone who's seen them live in the past year – perhaps at one of their recent shows opening for Le Tigre – will already know it as one of the highlights of their live set.

It's the one where Bev takes lead vocals and gets absolutely torn-in to some toxic churchy types from her past who liked to hide behind the old 'hate the sin, love the sinner' chestnut, all of whom would surely s*** a brick sideways if they ever found themselves at one of Problem Patterns' reliably raucous/joyous and inclusive live shows.

"I'm standing up for what I believe in, you can't fire me I'm leaving," hollers Bev, as the rest of the band batter their instruments into submission and everyone listening wishes they'd had the guts to try such a bad-ass line on their most hated ex-boss (hi, Owen, hope you're dead) or indeed anyone in a position of power who wields their prejudiced personal POV like it was gospel.

"Life isn't so black and white, try keeping yourself right," she spits, to which there can be only one response: amen.

The recorded version is a banger, even if it doesn't quite capture the full-on, jump off/on the stage and go crazy effect of the live experience. Crank it up and prepare to punch the air/your line manager now at problempatterns.bandcamp.com, and don't miss the excellent video filmed on the mean streets of Holywood.

Oh, and if you hadn't already heard, the Problem Patterns album is going to be called Blouse Club. It's due out later this year and I'm probably going to have to start taking hostages if I don't get to hear it soon.

Please prevent this tragedy, Alcopop! promo people.

:: Jim Bob – Thanks For Reaching Out (album, Cherry Red)

Jim Bob is back with Thanks For Reaching Out
Jim Bob is back with Thanks For Reaching Out Jim Bob is back with Thanks For Reaching Out

LAST but very much not least for this week, the one and only Jim Bob continues his recent run of brilliant musical form – see also Who Do We Hate Today (2022) and Pop Up Jim Bob (2021) – with another LP of top, lyrically memorable tunes on which the former Carter man is capably backed by his ace band The Hoodrats.

There's songs about the unlucky in love – uber-catchy, violin 'n' piano-enhanced 4/4 guitar pop stomper Bernadette (Hasn't Found Anyone Yet) – the lucky in love – the title track's trumpet, 'woah-woahs' and good vibes-laced rock 'n' roll ballad – and the Taliban and Putin – the former in the sublime, wistful indie rock lament of This Is End Times, the latter in The Day of Reckoning's glammy, poppy punk rocker blessed with a wonderfully dumb keyboard riff.

Note-to-self help number Toxic Man takes the form of a sub two-minute ruck between twangy surf/spy movie guitar and punk-prog noise-mongering, plus the sage advice "Don't let the poison get into your heart" as a mantra-like chorus, while We Need To Try Harder (We Need To Do Better) is a classic Jim Bob slowie, an eerie, organ-powered extinction event-themed waltz-time ode to the unifying power of music (man).

The (ironically) highly atmospheric cosmic ballad Billionaire in Space is a mid-album gem, the Elon-mocking video for which may yet get Jim kicked off a certain social media platform, which contrasts nicely with the synth-enhanced, stop-start rockabilly ramalama of

Sebastian's Gone on A Ride-along: this one's animated video has already succeeded in upsetting Jacob Rees-Mogg and thus should now be played on screens everywhere for eternity – or at least until after the next General Election.

Goesaroundcomesaround offers shades of Jim's fabulous former outfit Carter USM in its bombastic yet slinky, sax, synths 'n' guitars gun control lament, Befriend The Police is a gentle, positive graffiti-inspired and acoustic guitar powered anthem ("haters gonna hate, don't want to be one of them") which maybe should have been titled "Bring on The Dancing Nurses" as that's the bit you'll still be singing to yourself days later.

Finally, there's a playful cheer-up/drink-up knees-up called Prince of Wales on which Jim and co reassure us that "When your day feels mediocre, we'll drink tequila 'til it's over" before a ghostly fade-in/out reprise of the title track Thanks For Reaching Outro – Jim Bob simply cannot let a good/bad pun go to waste – calls time on another fantastic listen from Sarf Lahndan's finest.

Buy it now on gorgeous coloured, cartoon-enhanced gatefold vinyl, slightly less spectacular CD, retro cute cassette or solar flare-vulnerable digital download via cherryred.co/JimBobThanksForReachingOut.

You can thank me later.

Thanks For Reaching Out
Thanks For Reaching Out Thanks For Reaching Out