Hour of Need is the debut album from Fine Lines, the project started in 2016 by singer/songwriter David Boardman. While they may not have been around for long, they have already played with Merry Hell, John Power, and Mark Radcliffe's Galleon Blast. Radcliffe even plays the drums on a number of tracks on the album. It's an impressive package, with cover art by David Lunt, and a great supporting cast (Gary O'Brien, Alex Berry, John Kettle, Andy Jones, Neil McCartney and Ben Beer).
The album kicks off with the strongest track; Feet Don't Touch The Ground is a masterful rock tune that comes across like Gold-era Ryan Adams playing with E Street Band. It's joyfully fast paced and upbeat, a glorious earworm that you'll want to listen to again and again. While the highlight might come very early on, that's not to say the rest of the record lacks quality. The title track is another highpoint, a more mellow song with genuine emotion and maturity. Boardman and co-vocalist Zoe Blythe's voices fit together perfectly, and that is demonstrated perfectly on In My Hour Of Need.
While rock influences are front and centre for the most part, there are some folky gems on the CD as well. One For The Road is the first song that Blythe takes the lead on to great effect, and When My Ship Comes In features some wonderful fiddle work by Neil McCartney. Amongst the bonus tracks is a glorious cover version of Bob Dylan's I Shall Be Released, the sole cover in an album of original songs written by Boardman (or co-written with Craig White).
However you want to classify this genre-wise, this is a great listen, and an impressive debut. It's easy to see why the likes of Mark Radcliffe are already talking up Fine Lines. Despite having some clear influences (including the aforementioned Dylan and Adams), they have still created something that feels fresh, engaging and very entertaining.
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