Cavern City Tours Home
Cavern Club Home
Gig Guide
Artist Profiles
On - Line Store
Cavern Records
Book The Club
Club Floor Plan
Equipment Spec.
Contact Details
Useful Links

Artist Name:
Return to Profiles
Hey, hey! Look at time, it’s running away as fast as it can, with no worries about where it’s going, or what it plans to do when it gets there. It’s an indifference that only the most real of bands get to go through. They can wander aimlessly around hoping for ‘the breaks’, some surge forward without taking in the scenery. And then there’s the breed that you want to succeed, the type that steadfastly refuse to go too quick or too slow, because they want to enjoy the ride and have a fit of giggles every so often.

Welcome the abounding attitude that is Undercut. Here’s a troop that found  vibrations that made them smile and the debut album ’96 Hours’ fell out. Well, it did take them that long to lay it down in the studio. Four days of tightening the guitar strings and staying away from the pub. With a batch of tunes that actually mean something it’s no wonder that there are a few people talking up this five-piece as though they weren’t listening. Deaf isn’t something that can be levelled at Undercut. Not with the edgy listening that gracefully collapses all over the debut.

“Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest. There’s no point in throwing away an idea if it seems simple and you can pull together and make it work. That’s what we’re ultimately about.”

Ladies And Gentlemen, for your delectation, may I present the soaring beauty that is Undercut. They remain - Johnny Benn - vocals, Sam James - guitar, Dave Betts - guitar, Wayne Jones – bass and Matt Albon - drums. And with laddish wit they are parading themselves for you today, for tomorrow they may be untouchable.

“Yeah, the album is simple innit!” There’s laughter and acknowledgement from Wayne’s dry yet unmistakeable Bristolian sense of humour. He teases with stories of tabloid hell, but glares at the tape machine rather than spilling all the beans. There’s a pub conversation to be had there. Remember that.

Sam is articulate and places deep concern over the development of the band. More so than his comrades who just wanna play and are quite happy with the way things are going. Well they ain’t miserable any more. 96 Hours has a defined slant, brought about by the simplest of moves. Great comradery and old fashioned songwriting prowess.

96 Hours is a reaffirming affair. Recorded in a 4 day burst in North London with producers Bacon & Quarmby (Engineers / Ben Taylor)

 “We were amazed at our own proficiency. We played the whole album live and after one take Kevin and Jonathon were like – ‘Yeah! Great!’.” Sam’s smile is as broad as the pizza that’s been placed in front of him.

“Usually you can have a production team that, er, meddle! There was nothing like that here. We were all pretty amazed by the belief that those around had in our songs. The album benefits from this. It flows.”

Johnny is the enigmatic front man, with a rasping, life affirming  vocal that will have Peter Gabriel checking with his lawyers to see why he’s not been credited on the album. Level that at Johnny and he grins and shrugs.

“It’s all me!” and then he drinks his beer…

The album is peppered with his various takes on his own strengths. From the laconic bar room muse of ‘Sooner Or Later’ through the hopeful desperation of ‘Delight’ to the angst screaming of ‘I Saw You’. Johnny aids and abets the journey of ’96 Hours’, when you aren’t weaving through Doves-style terrain, there’s a reflective wave to Josh Homme and even a rain soaked nod to The Police. There’s a tremendous amount to be plucked and preened within their world. So why not let them, the band, take you part of the way through it…

“For me, (Sam) it has to be ‘Waiting’. It started as an instrumental, then as we worked on the riff we captured this beautiful melancholy vibe. It’s basically about being ready to go out and bird isn’t ready. That moment! It is a dark song though…”

Wayne grabs the mantle next: “It’s ’Delight’ for me. It was written in a tent in the middle of nowhere in Wales. It was memorable in that we were surrounded by cows and we were bollocksed! It works, is great live and girls seem to like it. I love the meaty lads’ chorus too!”

Matt takes his time over his choice: “Er, ‘Doing Fine’! I wanted to write an angry fast song that meant I could hit my drums as hard as possible. There’s a lot of angst there. I wanted to make as much noise as possible while using up energy. It’s very anal, but beats per minute are crucial and important to me. My approach is technical but I’m looser now. This song shows that off.”

Johnny goes back to the simple things. Life. He muses: “Definitely ‘Something For The Weekend’…It’s about waiting until Friday so you can get on it. Bristol that time of the week is a dirty, horrible place. Having a nine to five and sleeping with anyone and everyone, taking loads of drugs then getting up Monday and going back to the jobbing grind!”

Dave has been thinking for too long. One wave of the tape machine later and: “I’ll go for ‘Sooner Or Later’ because it’s different and inventive. It represents our sound and remains a bit tongue in cheek. It was initially a Razorlight piss-take but we turned it into something less straightforward and more rocky. It’s edgy and stands apart from what we’re doing, mainly because it’s all our personalities in one song. There’s no other song on the album that shows that so well.”

There’s no other band that will capture your heart so well, either.

Allow these moments to wash over you and soak up the amazing mood that is Undercut.

One can achieve a lot in ’96 Hours’. 

Ian Abrahams
The Fly

21 February 2016

Copyright © 2016, Cavern City Tours Ltd. All rights reserved.

Web site design by BT Promotions