Love, Peace, Pain
Alan Smith tunes in, June 2006

Recoup - Worthwhile
The first track is a rather pleasant slice of laid back electronic music. Not usually my cup of tea, I surprisingly enjoyed this, a song made for Sunday mornings. This album contains only seven songs, which merge seamlessly into one another. Sadly there's only so much gentle music I can take, and already by the second track I'm wondering when something new is going to happen and whether they are a one trick pony, if it's Worthwhile pursuing with the CD. 10 minutes later I realise it probably wasn't. It even starts to sound like Pet Shop Boys without the tunes. What really is the point of this genre of music? How can people not get bored of the monotony of it? If you don't you might be able to endure and even enjoy this.

Deguello - EP
"Violent Punk Rock, noise experimentation and heavy as hell". Well it can't be more different from the last CD I suppose. Whilst not exactly as violent or experimental as the blurb suggests, this is a rocking EP from the Oxford based band. Once again however it falls into the trap of being repetitive throughout each track. At least you can just about work out the lyrics being sung, the thought of any more random screaming make me want to…. err, scream. In fact on the basis of this I can hear no experimentation at all. Perhaps live they allow themselves to run wild, but this just sounds unoriginal. But there is definite promise hear, after all this is only a debut EP released as part of a four band showcase CD. They just need to work at getting their claimed originality onto record.

Def Leppard - Yeah!
Well it's pretty much a given that both you and I are not that likely to go buy a Def Leppard CD. But perhaps you have a parent or friend who would appreciate it? Well this is a covers album of the Lep's rather obvious influences ranging from T.Rex to Bowie to The Kinks to Thin Lizzy. 20th Century Boy is rather similar to the original. Their version of Hanging On The Telephone is actually rather enjoyable, with me nodding along without even realising it. The CD as a whole is rather inoffensive, with no real attempt to radically rework any of the originals. Which perhaps defeats the point of a covers album. Then again, most do sound distinctively like Def Leppard in their own MOR way.

Public Symphony - Public Symphony
Woo hoo, it's another average CD. Although this one is a DIY unsigned job so it deserves a bit more slack. This is comfortable gentle guitar(ish) music. Sort of like Keane but less irritating. It'll fit snugly alongside Coldplay, but without the "oomph". To be honest creating this as a DIY job must have been tough, and it's clear the songwriting talent is there. However if they wish to rise above the curse of mediocrity they need some help, or perhaps just more time to hone their skills.

The Crave - Bring It On
Ah, this is more like it, something with some balls. It's time to get your pop rock shoes on for some straightforward tunes and the chance to dance around the room like a loon. The title track on this single is catchy in a Jet kind of way, but a bit… well better. They are yet another promising band who hail from my hometown of Brighton. Second track High reminds me of Feeder (although not the track of the same name!) which might put some of you off. The final two tracks are similar in style, but still unique and with relatively little drop off in quality despite being backing tracks. This is clearly a band that could have commercial success due to the anthemic nature of their songs. Some people don't like music which sticks to the rules like this, but I do. You need music of this ilk alongside experimental stuff. For one thing, it's perfect for the car on a hot summer's day such as today.

Huski - Love Peace Pain
With Goldfrapp's recent material having been rather unimaginative and a shadow of their former glories, there is an opening for a sexy electronic outfit. And you could do a lot worse than this lot, producer Pike and singer Maple Bee. They sound most like Lamb of their contemporaries. You Will Be Adored is one of the most melodic tracks here, and a lovely happy track at that. The album is nicely varied, with poppier, chilled and electronic numbers which still all form a complete logical collection of music. Really pleasant and listenable. A keeper.

Uncle Ray - In Line With Mr Jimmy
Now perhaps I'm committing a cardinal sin here, knocking The Rolling Stones, but I've always found them a bit dreary at times. Which means the idea of an album of covers of Stones songs "chilled" doesn't exactly fill me with excitement. And sadly I wasn't exactly disproved. The songs are all just a bit too dreary and lifeless (Under My Thumb, Off The Hook), or reworked in a way that simply isn't a patch on the original, often removing the groovy-ness and melody (You Can't Always Get What You Want, Jumpin' Jack Flash). One for the hardcore Stones fans only; and even they may find some of the interpretations here a little painful.

Matias Manser - Home?
This is a slightly unusual album considering it falls into the "singer songwriter" slot. Matias sounds more like he'd be happier, and perhaps fit in better, fronting a rock band. As it is, his slightly abrasive vocals don't really quit the gentle-ish music (except on the softer and rather lovely The One). It's hard to see who this would appeal to, as his voice ought to be over some harder music which people can mosh to. On the positive side, he's done a good job on his own, and has decent songwriting ability, but I can't say it's anything I'll be returning to.

Zeeb - MockCockSpockShockRock
Zeeb apparently come from Zeeb Prime and enjoy anal probes (Keane they ain't!). My first impression is that this sounds like music from a South Park soundtrack. It's upbeat in a punky way, with fair relaxed vocals, often in a crazed-preacher style. Sadly the novelty factor of a mask clad band from "outer space" isn't enough to make up for music which is, like so much of this batch of CDs, a bit on the average and unoriginal side. Hardly out of this world.

By Alan Smith

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