Alan Smith longs for monkeys with guitars
TD Lind - Falling
Having previously supported James Blunt already relieves TD Lind of
any credibility his music may be able to create. But have no fear; he
isn't being hard done by as his music manages to live up to its complete
lack of promise. Describing itself as "widescreen Americana",
a horrid term it doesn't even manage to accomplish being as it is painful
soft-rock nothingness. If you gave a monkey a guitar and a David Grey
album it would write this in no time. I've near enough heard this before
and I don't need to hear it again. www.tdlind.com.
Grace Solero - New Moon
This is fairly lightweight but pleasant enough. It's been played on
Ace from Skunk Anansie's Brighton radio show and it's easy to see why,
her music owes much to the anthemic 90s outfit with a similar vocal
style, albeit not as crazed. And the songs are accessible, melodic and
understated. It's probably about 10 years too late to make much of an
impact here as it's not what the haughty indie scene are looking for,
and neither shiny nor generic enough to be a commercial hit. However
they could well find their audience in other countries. www.gracesolero.com.
My Device - Jumbo Fiasco
Promising Brighton trio My Device are back with the second album Jumbo
Fiasco which has possibly the best album cover I've ever seen, colourful,
haphazard and attention-grabbing which (hurrah!) is conveniently also
what their music is like. It's a huge leap on from their debut album
which was enjoyable but didn't really let go and get as in-your-face
as this album does. It's fiery, rocking, high-tempoed, abrasive and
everything you would want from a band. You can tell they are passionate
about the music they are making and it's this that gives them such an
edge. All in all it's utterly fabulous and far better than I expected
and proves them to be a real force to be reckoned with.
The Servant - How To Destroy A Relationship
The Servant's Cells was used in Sin City, a song I really loved from
I band I had, until now, no knowledge of. They've managed to create
considerable success in Europe without managing to have any input here.
Much like Grace Solero this is probably more due to the current direction
of the UK music scene than their talent. This is solid, catchy indie
music somewhere between Oasis and Kaiser Chiefs, which I'm sure you'll
agree isn't distinctive enough to garner press attention over here.
Which is a shame as it's very enjoyable, if you don't mind the singer's
slightly nasal voice. www.theservant.co.uk.
Fahrenheit 451 - The Battleground Is Everywhere
From the off, you can tell this is a band with real passion. Quite how
they manage to convey this simply from the pounding drums in We Are
Youth before the vocals have even kicked in is a mystery, but it's certainly
attention grabbing. They've already got the thumbs up from us in a previous
review, unsurprising given their clear early Manics influences both
in terms of their angry punkish style and political undertones. I get
the feeling, or perhaps the hope, that they are not yet quite the finished
article, sometimes the lyrics can teeter a little too close to cliché
and I wonder if they can muster the variety needed for a full album.
But this matters not. Why? Because it's earnest, it's "real"
and it's precisely the sort of music we yearn to hear more of so some
songwriting slack must be given.
Serotone - Shine Alone
Uh-oh, it's the debut single from "Scotland's hottest new metal
band". For me, this is not a reason to be excited. In fact it's
pretty soft in its musical approach; they've seen My Chemical Romance
and gone for the softly softly moaned verse, which reaches new lows
of incomprehensibility, followed by a shouty shouty chorus. With no
lyrical content and a total of about three chords repeated I can't see
how anyone could pick out something of note from this. www.serotoneband.co.uk.
Rebecca - Public Face
This ambitious lot are trying to find that elusive combination of catchy
tunes and a credible and unique yet timeless sound. A lofty ambition,
and reaching the heights of the likes of Radiohead and Muse is probably
a dream likely to remain unfulfilled, but I can't blame them for trying.
This single is short and
sweet. It's got quite a poppy
tone, but then so did the aforementioned influences on their first albums.
It makes sense to get the basics right, which they have here, before
trying anything too bold or ambitious. If they can steer clear drifting
into radio-friendly territory, as I'm sure the record companies would
like them too, this could be the seeds of a very good band in the making.
Hyperbubble - Airbrushed Alibis
I'm struggling to get past the first track of this album, which is very
much akin to the "Electro Boy, Electro Girl" electronic pastiche
song from The Mighty Boosh. Of course this is probably most likely due
to the excellence of The Boosh and my lack of an electro ear rather
than a lack of quality of Hyperbubbles part. Saying that this sounds
a bit like Ladytron is both lazy and obvious, but it's about my only
reference point. Non Biodegradable Hazardous Waste Disposal stands out,
not only due to its title, but its charming computer bleeps and daft
yet enticing vocals. It's varied, packed with tunes and lightheartedness
and if I were in the least bit interested in this genre of music I would
probably choose to listen to this. www.hyperbubble.net.
Madding Crowd - Turn Off The Radio
If you've been crying out for an indie pop Joy Division then your time
has come at last. This free download single has intelligent lyrics and
all the ingredients of a solid song but for me is spoilt by the monotone
vocals which are more spoken than sung. It takes a special band to get
away with doing this and Madding Crowd just aren't special enough. And
whilst I can appreciate a band not having the money for flashy packaging
or polished production, the fact that the song cuts out before the end
is a needless and silly mistake, ensuring that this physical copy won't
generate any airplay at all. www.maddingcrowd.info.
Hello Wembley - Up Great Britain
Hello Wembley are here to slag things off, which I always love to hear.
They snipe at the music scene, Jeremy Kyle, class divisions, war and
all the things which they say mean "Great Britain's not great any
more". An ethos of actually having something, anything, to say
is always a winner and can ensure a good review regardless of the actual
music, but in Hello Wembley's case this stands up admirably as well,
sounding like an empowered and irritated Art Brut. They got a lot to
say and bags of ideas, each song on this 4 track EP is packed with cultural
references that never feel like they've been shoehorned in for effect
but fit the song structures. I agree with most but not all of their
point, but this matters little when they stand up for what they believe
in whilst creating fun chirpy music in the process.
All Our Good Friends - Promise
An understated little album this, it's gentle and unobtrusive. Calling
it background music is perhaps a bit harsh, as that term comes with
fairly negative connotations, but this certainly takes a back seat but
manages to be surprisingly relaxing for something so sparse. It never
builds to anything overly upbeat and loud, happy to carry on at its
own gentle pace. Whilst it will probably be perceived as dreary by many
I can really appreciate its low key charms. His vocals remind me a little
of Elliott Smith and for that matter the songwriting standard is similar.
But it has a happier edge (not that that is saying much) and a different
tone which is very charming. www.myspace.com/allourgoodfriends.
Bassboosa - Wicked Game
A strange choice of single for this new band, a cover of the well known
track Wicked Game. You'd think they'd want to define themselves as artists
first, and leave the covers until a bit later in their career. I'm guessing
perhaps the record label anticipate this will sell better than an original
release, which doesn't exactly show much confident in them as an act.
Whatever the reasons for its single release, it's a solid enough cover,
more atmospheric and drifting that the original. But I can't see it
stimulating much interest in the band. The b-sides are pleasant enough
in a light'n'breezy Radio 2 way. Some catchy singles of their own could
do well but it's too soft and fluffy for my liking.
By Alan Smith
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