All That Ever Mattered - Anna C reviews some summer release...

THE MORENAS- It shouldn't mata

This song is about Mata Hari, the WWI exotic dancer and convicted spy. Hence the amazing spelling of the title track. She has an inspiring story, one of seduction and international intrigue. One I would recommend that you read rather than listening to this as a single. Though the string-quartet and Buckley-like vocals add a sense of drama to the nicely melodic occasion, and re-inforce my opinion that this is definitely a grower, I still don't think that the latest offering from this London-based trio is one I will be listening to all summer long. And all because of a mis-used trumpet. Wonderfully played by chief-blower for UB40 (they were fab at Live8, weren't they? Note to self: must get "Best of" and perfect bogling technique), whilst it is claimed that this contributes a bit of funk to proceedings, I would say that the result is just a bit confusing. I wholly appreciate that they are trying to do something different but this time it just doesn't work. Which is why "Say something else" as a B-side is much better. Not only is it more catchy and powerful but it's cheeky simplicity sounds more like they are being themselves: uncomplicated and bouncy, teasingly teetering on their tiptoes and then bursting forth with a sumptuous ripple of bottom cheek. And who can go wrong with that as a formula? Yes, sirs; less pretence please, and more rock.

The Morenas release their debut album this summer so keep your eyes peeled.

CHERUBS- Uncovered by heartbeat

The debut offering from this Scandanavian five-piece can best be described as a spiky kind of retro garage rock-pop, very much what The Strokes would sound like if the Kaiser Chiefs chipped in with the odd riff and were then bludgeoned over the head by aforementioned Strokes for their efforts. And, through my idle daydreams about the Kaiser Chiefs being mildly injured, I am pleased to add that this surprisingly works, because, what this band lack in musical excellence, they make up for in what many lack these days and that be charisma. In short, if you like the odd few chords and the customary catchy bass-line, tune in. And even if you don't, I think these guys are, regardless, set to be big anyway (they have, for example, supported The Libertines). Because they're here to rock. With gems like powerful debut single "Hey bunny" and crackers like "Botox bop" and "9* out of 10", which further have the sexual urgency, though perhaps not the mental tendencies, of Pink Grease, whilst not being particularly new, The Cherubs are also not trying to be anyone but themselves. For which I could kiss their feet. Go figure.


I am currently receiving treatment for vertigo, a sensation, I'm told, commonly caused by a disorder of the inner ear. My doctor says this is possibly due to over-exposure to high levels of bad CDs (nooch). This means that, amongst other things, I cannot control the co-ordination in my hands very well. So finally I have an excuse for the mean things I am about to write, as in "it wasn't me, it was my inner ear". And what my inner ear thinks is that, whilst Spooky Hi-Fi describe themselves as space-rock-slash-dream-psychedelia, what they actually translate as is merely slow and somewhat boring guitar music, left behind from some time in the 80's when the old hippies were fighting the age of electronica. And losing.
Whilst the floaty lullaby that is "Innocent Eyes" is less pretentious than the other tracks, has a nice use of harmonies which are played simply but effectively and makes me wish that they had included more stuff along these lines, this demo is let down greatly by the weird mix of its other tracks; for example, opening song "Love's thrill" was a cacophony of jangly baggy-ness and, as seems to be the theme, strange and slightly gothic indulgence. In fact, if my inner ear could dress in flowing robes, had seemingly pagan tendencies and arms to wave about theatrically like Patsy's mother in Ab Fab, then this, particularly the serious and sinister female vocal, would be what would provoke such antics through the medium of dance. And then it would collapse, perhaps ashamed, and hide it's, erm, face in a dark corner, pretending to be quietly contemplating the meaning of life but actually sobbing and pleading for salvation. And I think that hits the nail on the head on what it would be like to attend a Spooky Hi-Fi gig. Mind if I leave it to you to find out?

Cambridge Corn Exchange 1/7/05

There were a whopping three support bands tonight, two of which I missed due to the age of the audience and the venue's consideration of their subsequent bedtime. Still, this can only be something of a blessing because, if chief support band Bullet For My Valentine are anything to go by, my ears would be bombarded with extremely rubbish metal. Indeed, totally hero-worshipped rubbish metal but very much still rubbish metal. However, I was forced to keep my ideas to myself for fear of being lynched by the tiny-boppers, as, dodging the metal signs and eleven year olds throwing up, I made my way to join the rest of the old folk at the back of the room.

So I was apprehensive about staying to watch Funeral For a Friend. After all, I was one of only a few people above 4'8" in the whole auditorium and was beginning to decide that if I saw another studded belt, then I would hang its owner with it. And that goes for pink lacy gloves too, though admittedly this would be more difficult. But, oh, how I laughed. Having said that, I couldn't help but be sucked in by the total atmosphere created by the adoration of the crowd (particularly the man with no neck in front of us who looked like he was going to wet his customary calf-length shorts). Credit where credit's due, the band put on a really impressive show (the lightshow was very nice), having done very well for themselves, and are blatantly having a great time. Delivering favourites like "Red is the new black" and "Amsterdam conversation", alongside recent material, FFAF remain emo hardcore at its highest potential, albeit a little Americanised since their last release but still with a pleasing blend of poignancy (read: teenage angst) and riffs large enough to knock your block off (read: piss your parents off). And if you can ignore the niggling voice in your head that screams that these portly Welshmen have sold out to their older fans, then check out their new album, "Hours", out now.

MEADOWMAN- Meadowman

Local boys Meadowman mostly sound very much like Alice In Chains. Opening track, "Red" is full testament to this. With dirty guitar lines and truly grungy vocals from sexy vocalist, Mel, this is powerful stuff. Though at over six minutes long, I did skip to the next song after a while. Perhaps a bit too epic for me. Especially when what follows has even more potential. Other telling influences certainly include Led Zeppelin and, in turn, Soundgarden, with the rough stoner bluesy rock of early Reef or Pearl Jam thrown into the slow-moving mosh for good measure, particularly in the almost oceanic lull of "Kept", making this a band I recommend you seek out next time they hit the gig circuit. Though with caution: you will definitely get the munchies afterwards.

Anna C.

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