Release Date: Feb 3, 2013
Record label: Double Denim Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
The first thing about Amateur Best that hits is his voice; it's down, but not beaten. It's the kind of voice that popstars used to have in the days before AutoTune, perma-grins, and mandatory teeth whitening. Warmly scratchy, it tickles the subconscious as he searches for words, and frays charmingly as he reaches for the big notes. It's a voice that wears its heart on its sleeve; emotions etched in sky-high letters with every breath.
Amateur Best, aka one-man band Joe Flory, embraces a kind of sultry electronica that occasionally tends towards the ambient. With his soft caress of a croon, this is when the ex-Primary 1 man is at his, erm, best. The multi-layered harmonies that wash over ‘Ready For The Good Life’ are spine-tingling, while ‘Too Much’ and ‘The Wave’ are dappled with subtle beats and baritone tenderness.
Really lovely LP from the artist formerly trading as Primary 1. Mike Diver 2013 In a classic case of deceptive first impressions, No Thrills opens with its lead single, Ready for the Good Life, and instantly underwhelms. A peppy production evocative of Everything Everything with the twitchiness turned down, it’s a polished but unremarkable introduction.
DIY producer Joe Flory has drawn back the curtain on his latest project, Amateur Best, with debut record No Thrills. The Londoner released a major label effort a few years prior, under his Primary 1 alter-ego, but the project was quickly scrapped due to musical differences between artist and label soon after the release of last record, Other People. This time around, he’s rejuvenated, partnered with indie label Double Denim, and set to bring his luscious electronica and pristine voice back into the limelight.
As a name for an album, ‘No Thrills’ is both pretty good, so far as pun-titles go, and sharply invites like-minded souls to quip about Amateur Best’s debut (I say debut - Joe Flory was previously better known under the alias Primary 1) by saying something along the lines of ‘the cover boasts ‘No Thrills’, but listen to the music inside and you’ll know nothing can be further from the truth. ’ And they’d be cheesy as ‘owt, but they’d be right. From the off, single ‘Too Much’ sets up the rest of the record as a more off-kilter listen than you may have been expecting - or perhaps not.