Long Time Coming...
Reviews of a bunch more stuff, in alphabetical order

Humanzi - Long Time Coming (single, Fiction)
Long Time Coming is a quirky indie tune that seems a little contrived and frankly has a bandwagon-jumping stench about it. There's so much of this stop-start sub-ska Gang of Four-ish indie harking back to the 80s around at the moment that a band really have to kick it to stand out in a very crowded pond. Dublin's Humanzi don't. Next!

Josh Doyle - The End of Fear EP (Single, GB Recordings)
A fine example of why everyone should have a Myspace page - this guy added me as a friend, I messaged him to say I was happy to review stuff, and a few days later a really good CD plops through my door fresh from Nashville, Tennessee. At worst, Doyle is a solid singer-songwriter but a real flare and imagination in the structures set him a little higher than a lot of the competition. He's a tad pop/chart/U2/Coldplay etc etc, and some of the lyrics are a bit naff, but the End of Fear has an endearing quality I can't quite put my finger on, and enough slightly quirky dancey keyboardy bits to make me tap my foot and press repeat.

Check him out at http://www.myspace.com/joshdoyle

Labasheeda - My City your Hometown (single, presumably self released)
The sixth thing I've listened to, and the first to get to the end with me still listening - bravo! Dutch and grungy/indie/experimental, Labasheeda remind me of PJ Harvey when she was a bit weirder and not signed to a major, and they'd certainly fit into that old Fortuna Pop category. There's some nice fuzzy guitar stomping, interesting pedal effects and you could certainly have a good lurch to them, if you were so inclined. I'm really looking forward to hearing or seeing more by this lot - check them out yourself at http://www.myspace.com/labasheeda

Morning Runner - Burning Benches (single, EMI)
Burning Benches isn't even warm; rather it starts as a really boring piano-driven dirge before becoming a fast, piano-driven boring dirge. The fact they've supported Coldplay and Athlete is no surprise, as this is about as interesting, although a good raspy vocal goes to waste over some turgid music. A really poor song by a band that is boring enough to go all the way.

Rob McCuloch - Planet of my Own (single, Gladrag)
The kind of thing you hear in small town pubs and rock competitions across the nation - don't these people listen to the radio? Rob has a nice voice, seems reasonably skilled with the piano, but seems to own an Elton John album, maybe an Oasis one, and perhaps (when he's feeling daring) the odd mainstream Bowie single. Please stop.

The Bleeding Hearts - You Bring Me to My Knees (single, Mother Tongue)

Honest intelligent indie pop with plenty of charm but little originality. There are a million bands that have trodden this Pulp/Smiths/Suede road since then, but I can't really remember any of them specifically. I fully expect The Bleeding Hearts to go the same way.

The Conway Story - Ghostwriter (single, Kooba Cuts)
Dramatic, sweeping indie with an interesting vocal that is, sadly, still basically Coldplay. There's a lot of it about, it seems. I much prefer this guy's voice, but the overkill of this kind of nonsense has jaded me beyond my years. In another time, this would've been a stayer, but it's going straight off to the charity shop with all the other Chris Martin-a-likes.

The Lodger - Watching (single, Double Dragon)
This two-track offering is jam-packed with perfect rolling indie pop from a band that is going from strength to strength. Catchy, captivating, a bit twee, lyrically lovely and thoroughly endearing, The Lodger is the latest Leeds export that looks like they'll make the grade. Watching is a brilliantly observed story of sitting on your arse instead of fulfilling your potential: "And all the risks you have to take are while your foot is on the brake, and your ideas will disappear unless you drive away from here, but if you burn we can return together". If there's any justice, this lot'll be huge. http://www.myspace.com/thelodgerleeds

The Vibrants - The Vibrants EP (single, unsigned but being plugged by Quite Great Publicity…)
Well they start on a winner with some funky plastic packaging and a driving keyboardy intro but, guess what, that's where the love affair ends. They may be ticking all the right support boxes (The Subways, Badly Drawn Boy etc) but if this is the best they have to offer, supporting is going to be as good as it gets. The vocal is a bit too rocky and warbly, while there isn't really a song underneath all the bluster. The keyboards are Hammond-ish and unimaginative, the drumming crap, the tunes (if you can dig one out) are classic 70s pop rock. Not great then.

The Wedding Present - Ringway to Seatac (single, Scopitones)
Gedge can write stuff like this in his sleep, but new Weddoes tunes can never be a bad thing. But is this really a Weddoes tune? The hallmark lyrical storytelling genius is there, as is the gangly, slightly grungy sound, but there is a female backing vocal and none of those tell-tale 1000mph guitar attack sounds you've come to know and love. Once the B-sides come in, the games up - it's really a noisy Cinerama single in disguise. A man of his calibre can surely tell the difference? I feel a little cheated.


Chris Marlin

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