Friday, 6 June 2008


Here's a nice safe band construction kit: You get three likeminded mates, a guitar, a bass, a drumkit and a microphone. Add a book of indie chords and you're off!

Except The Scarlett Alliance didn't do it like that! Jack had been playing guitar for three years or so, always meaning to form a band but nobody seemed to be on the same wavelength. When he was offered a gig by Jericho Keys of The Banter at The Res, he thought "why not?" Who needs a band anyway?

"It was the night of my first gig and I had such a big crowd (Which I couldn’t believe), but all I could see at the front jumping around was Sam. He looked like he was enjoying it and I had always meant to ask him whether he was interested in drumming, as I knew he was good from school." And so The Scarlett Alliance as we know it today was born.

Jack and Sam knew each other from their first days at college, but were never best mates. Yet their friendship has blossomed since forming the band, despite moving in different circles outside The Alliance. Jack still plays footie a fair bit, although not as much as he used to. Sam's more your beach bum. Surfing when the waves are good, dreaming about surfing when they're not.

Their view is that there's more encouragement for young local bands at the moment than ever before. As Sam says "Just look at us, this is our first gig and it’s for Whitby Now!" Big fans of The Banter's wiry edginess and High Tide's chill out aesthetics, Sam was also well impressed by Yabbadabbadoo when he saw them last week. On the Whitby music scene Jack reckons "It’s a bit of a mixed bag of genres, which can only be good I think."

Inevitably comparisons are going to be drawn with a certain other guitar and drums duo. "It was always going to be hard for me to try and avoid sounding and looking too much like The White Stripes", claims Jack. You only have to talk to him for a few minutes before references to the red clad twosome start popping into the conversation. Their own name derives from the fact that Jack White's daughter is named Scarlett (don't forget the two ts at the end there!), but there was an episode of American Dad featuring a sinister organisation called The Scarlett Alliance as well. On a less wholesome note, they also share their moniker with the official organisation of the sex industry workers of Australia, but we'll gloss over that!

With The Kooks and Razorlight on Sam's list of favourites, and with Jack namechecking the magnificent Seasick Steve and Duffy too ("such a sexy voice, and a very good singer."), other influences may well seep into the new songs they're planning to start working on after the Whitby Now gig. "As soon as we've played this one we are going to try and write some more , I have some material ready to go, but we've been concentrating on this gig too much to finish them."

Both self taught musicians, there is a directness and authenticity to their sound. Couple that with lashings of fuzz to set the fillings in your teeth rattling, and you're onto a winning formula. No recordings of them playing as a duo exist, but to catch a flavour of what to expect, nip over to The Scarlett Alliance's website via the magic of the WHITBY POPWATCH links column. Of course this is no substitute for the real thing, to get the full effect go to The Res on June 17th and surf the waves of fuzzed out guitar and drumbeat whilst still clutching your pint.

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