Let’s start with the obvious: If you like the Beatles — especially their early recordings — you’ll find a lot to love about Archie Noble. Indeed, With Regards, Archie Noble has the sound of a love letter to an earlier era of music. And while it’s tempting to call it a “simpler” era of music, that would be a grave error. Yes, the recordings are presented in mono and any studio effects are limited to some heavy reverb on the vocal tracks, With Regards represents a painstaking re-creation of a genre that some might considered lost: Mersey Beat (aka Mersey Sound or Liverpool Sound).
To be certain, the songs collected herein are not cover versions. Rather, they’re original tunes — mostly love songs, defined broadly and taking various forms — performed by Noble in the style of bands like Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Searchers, Peter and Gordon, and Chad and Jeremy.
Central to the success of Noble’s approach to music is that he’s not playing the nostalgia card for laughs or, for that matter, the sake of nostalgia. This is the music of neither the Rutles nor the Wonders, nor even Beatlemania, for that matter. It’s the music of an artist with an ear for jazzy chord changes and endearing, homespun harmonies who also happens to have a mop-top haircut.
Discovering Archie Noble is like stumbling upon a 60s beat group that somehow never got old and has managed over the course of the intervening decades to stay true to the music they love. Think of it as the musical equivalent of a Wes Anderson movie: a deceptively simple retro package containing an aesthetically complex tapestry of emotions.