Calling All Killers
Alan Smith vs a Mega Tsunami

Nick Harrison – Something Special
A feel good track in the vein of The Zutons or Mystery Jets, Something Special has a catchy chorus that suggests “big things” beckon, whatever that may mean. It terms of musical style, it’s clearly a lightweight version of Arctic Monkeys or The Automatic. The production of Paul Epworth is very evident, giving that clever combination of sounding both polished and haphazard at the same time. On the evidence of this one song, it’s a bit too undemanding to get me excited, but it will be interesting to see what else he comes out with. If he can put together an album with both single material like this and a few more eclectic and diverse tracks it really could be Something Special indeed.

Late Of The Pier – Bathroom Gurgle
Although I’d heard the name, it occurred to me upon placing this CD in my player that I hadn’t actually heard anything by Late Of The Pier. This has clearly been my misfortune, as they prove to be a very intriguing prospect. This re-release single is quite simply bonkers. It veers all over the place, from squeaky but epic sounding ballad-y bits, to frantic hands-in-the-air Klaxons shout-y bits, to warped electronic bits to 80s classic dance bits; it really does have it all in one single. And I’m a sucker for a single that doesn’t sound at all like a single. It’s modern, diverse, inventive and enticing. Like a modern day Pink Floyd gone clubbing with MGMT. And whilst Klaxons comparisons are commonplace, it’s sufficiently different, and in fact quite removed from their sound, to stand-alone proudly. In fact, its actually inspired me enough that I’m going to track down the debut album ASAP.

The Raid – Oh Lillee
Primal Scream from their rock days crossed with rockier early Stereophonics, sadly forgotten could-have-beens Kinesis and, dare I say it, even a splash of the Manics. This is pace, angsty, earnest rock’n’roll, all frantic riffs and cymbal smashing. How can anyone dislike a band with such straight-up honesty? No clever tricks, just a yearning to give it their all, which they certainly do. A song to cheer you up and get you dancing, I can’t see The Raid disappointing with this or any of their future tracks as they obviously have the knack for rhythmically pleasing inventions.

Grammatics – The Vague Archive
Grammatics play furiously with a vocal range that flits about seemingly randomly. They’ve gone for a crazed approach that leaves you trying to pick out exactly where the song has gone. I get the feeling they are being quirky for quirky’s sake rather than actually knowing what they are trying to achieve. It’s all a bit of a mess really, like Keane off their meds attempting to play 20 songs in 3 minutes. The full version has a nice gentle calming bit at the end that doesn’t fit with the rest of the song. Sadly this has been removed from the radio edit, which never manages to carve out any coherent sense of identity. The musical equivalent of your friend who talks so fast you loose track of what they’re talking about. Slow down boys.

Inertia Blooms – Mega Tsunami
The word Tsunami was abandoned out of irrational fear after the famous one. My mums favourite puzzle magazine changed its name, as did my uni’s swim team. Strange given that it’s simply the name of a naturally occurring weather phenomenon. I’m sure the Manics would have been happy to still play Tsunami. But I digress. What I’m getting at is that there really aren’t enough songs called Mega Tsunami. None in fact. This song is not something destined to create great waves; against all expectations this is a gentle little instrumental that turns out (5 of 7 minutes in) to not be an instrumental at all. I wish it hadn’t turned out this way as the nasal vocals are superfluous and add nothing of note. Second track Pilgrims & Monuments is heavier with a Smashing Pumpkins style largely created by the guitar sound. The vocals are more in line with Pearl Jam and a million other American acts. It has 4 minutes of song and then 4 minutes of instrumental tacked on the end. A fairly brave and novel step that I applaud. Final track Mexican’t is similar, but not quite as good.

Silversky – Calling All Killers

A solid effort this and relatively straightforward to describe. There are 3 catchy little songs that tread familiar indie territory with immediate appeal providing no challenge to the listener. This is not necessarily a bad thing. However second track We Should Be Dead has vocals that are less Morrissey style, more so identikit they sound like a rip off or pastiche. He even does that rolling letters thing. If they want to be taken seriously, this needs some serious toning down.

By Alan Smith