Anna Sees The Menace
Anna C menaces some more bands...

THE MENACE: Bomb Us, Burn Us, Send us to hell, we are the menace

First rule of writing a band biog. When describing your band, claiming that you sound, and write about, where you hail from is one thing. But not such a good idea if you live in Chelmsford. I'd never have said The Menace were that bad. Born in the summer of 2005, this "bastard deformed child of post-hardcore and britrock", with a penchant for clunky belts, Funeral For a Friend and Thrice, though nothing new, is already much more promising than the grey Essex suburbs it is pushed around in by it's tired teenage mother.
Spitting the dummy with short, punchy songs, as fast and furious as the brainchild of an ADD sufferer, this is a group of young whippersnappers who are actually quite good for their tender years. Not that they sound like they would go away easily even if I didn't like them: I know blokes like this and I can hear how much they want this through their music. That said, I still believe it's excessively arrogant at such an early stage to think that they can get away with an eponymous instrumental on track three. Whilst songs called "Reborn" and "KILL KILL KILL" may deserve an ASBO. Or your attention. I'll let you decide on that. It's certainly not the worst I've heard.

NEW ORDER: Waiting for the sirens' call

This is New Order. It sounds like New Order. It has the hallmark bittersweet and lamenting vocal (not bad for a bloke called Bernard), a bit of jangly guitar and the most unmistakable beefy basslines in the business. The title track from the eighth studio album of these stalwarts of the electronic age, "Waiting for the siren's call" is considered by the band as one of their best tracks ever. The Guardian even deign to hail it as "classic New Order". I'm not sure about that. But it's better than "World in motion". I like it. If you like New Order, I guess you will too. Apart from if you're comparing it to "Blue Monday" like most fans seem to be, in which case, don't even bother.

New Order also have a singles collection available now


This four-piece has been described as "what might happen if Franz Ferdinand joined Motorhead or that one from The Killers gusted on a Metallica song". Prompting me to ask incredulously: a) gusted??? and b) who wrote this, pray tell? Oh, the gospel according to BBC Oxford. I see.
First thing's first, Glass Factory is an awful name. So what if your music was recorded in a factory? If anything, this adds to an amateur sound. So the name needs to go. But what I really dislike is that here is a band with a style of writing so far from unclear that they may as well have written this collection of songs in a vat of indelible pig manure (is this what the Beeb were politely trying to point out?). They state that they are proud that they do not set out to sound a particular way. Boys; as a member of the listening public, might I advise you that it might help you out a bit in this early stage of your musical career if you did just that. Because being able to play your instruments well these days is just not enough. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one to scorn forward-thinking and trying new approaches. When it works. Glass Factory may hail from proper middle England, but Radiohead they are not. Here, dirty and anthemic grunge riffs come together with poppy melodies and rock beats to merge into something, more often than not, surprisingly rather slow and dreary, the result being a little confusing for me. In fact, the first track was the only real treat as a reviewer. Because it's title is "What we were unaware of a week ago". Which enables me to add "was that you need to write some better songs". Now be gone.

VENA CAVA- Yellow Top Theory

This summer I had a scary incident in a Cornish pub masquerading as a dark and dingy nightclub, in which I was stalked by the somewhat large DJ named Terry who, we decided, went home after a days accounting, donned his eyeliner and spiky necklace, listened to some generally bad music and encouraged poor unsuspecting holidaymakers to do the same. He, and his mates down the front, would like Vena Cava. Though, personally, they are not for me, falling somewhere between System of a Down and, through claiming that they also include influences of 80's pop and grunge, the most pretentious hardcore band in the world. Ever.
Because this is essentially just lots of screaming and shouting over raging heavy metal interspersed with the odd slow bit. And I mean lots; opening track "Beneath the pavement, the beach" best displays this, lasting well over five and a half painstaking minutes, over a minute of which is the finale of some of the most self-indulgent guitar work I have ever had the pleasure to lay ears on. In short, I can guarantee that Vena Cava are good at what they do. But whether they can find someone who can be arsed to listen to them is anyone's guess. In fact, such full-on musical masturbation makes me want to run away and join a convent, where only then will I be safe.


It is very hard to pigeonhole Atlantis Black's music as there doesn't appear to be one theme running throughout their songs; however, their sound could be compared to the best in traditional British rock meeting the laid back tunes of a US road-trip. OK, so I've cut and pasted that sentence from the band's biog, like many other lazy journalists around, for the griping gits amongst you who want to get a "real" idea of the music and not hear my opinion on the subject. Now sod off and go wank over your copy of the NME or paint your room black and stop bothering me.
Because opening song "Don't love you" and later track "End of the day" sounds to me more like Extreme: i.e. the sort of emotion-fuelled stuff they will play to death on your local late-night love programme on all good commercial radio stations. This duo further reminds me of Cambridge's latest protégés, Saint Zoë. Now this is a band that I will tap my toe to, though only in a subdued fashion that may look like I've got an itchy big toe or tourettes or some similar minor affliction. Because, despite their enthusiasm and ability to play, and as much as I like a good portion of cheese on my crackers, they are just ever so slightly cringeworthy. Yes, Atlantis Black have "Shake and roll again" which sounds like "Love in the elevator" by Aerosmith, or something along the lines, and, indeed, these tunes may be large enough to fill a large arena. But then Bon Jovi are playing Wembley when it reopens. To get to the point, there will always be a person that thinks this is classic and, as long as there are lonely housewives weeping into their comfort food, that will see a market for it. That person is unfortunately not me. It was never going to go well with this band though. They have possibly one of the worst lines of a press release I have ever read. "Two guys both just turned 22 with one common interest… music". That might help then. Let's hope so, eh?


Anna C