More Frightening Things...
Alan Smith talks about the Birds and Bees

Filthy Little Angels – Just A Minute (Compilation)
Somehow this manages to cram 19 tracks into 17 minutes, surely winning the (non-existent) award for the highest density of tracks on a compilation album. These tracks have presumably been chosen for their length, which unfortunately means you don’t always have enough time to get a real idea of the band’s sound. For example, Shock And Awe’s Nothing is barely 20 seconds long. Artists include Hyperbubble, Micropenis, Rocket Uppercut, The Jesus’, Geese and Listen Lisse. Billy Ruffian’s The Windsor Uplift is a quirky and tongue-in-cheek look at the royal family that manages to provide the required speedy innovation to make them a recommendation to track down. Another highlight is CockMuffBumhole by the upbeat female fronted exquisitely monikered Town Bike. A final recommendation comes in the shape of The Affection, a woo-hoo-ing indie outfit, appearing with their track Tell Me Again. Ultimately, whatever your musical tastes, you’re bound to find something on here that you feel merits further investigation. It’s great to know random little compilations like this are still being made, a great outlet for new bands.

Boudica – Magic Beans / Love You Dead
They say you have to be cruel to kind, which is why I’m inflicting the memory of Skunk Anansie as a point of reference for this Southend-on-Sea band. Firstly, I like Skunk Anansie. Next, to get this band’s sound, take Skunk Anansie, remove the high-pitched bits, then make it less conventionally structured, add a rougher guitar sound and hey presto, Boudica. Conventional but still unique, a clever trick to perform. The producer of Idlewild is behind this, and it shows. With Yeah Yeah Yeahs one of the only female fronted “proper” bands around at the moment, some competition is required. This lot stand a good as chance as any at giving it.

The James Warner Prophecies – Sing
Whilst their band name has probably got you thinking “Really? They thought that would be a good choice?” it’s worth adding that there isn’t even a James Warner in this band. Now ask yourself what a folky-flute-laden band would sound like if it was fronted by the singer from Nickleback? You have your answer here. Odd, is the answer. I can’t take it away from them, this certainly is original. But not at all to my tastes. However, with previous support slots with the likes of Chas & Dave, I’m thinking that perhaps I’m not their target market. It’s nice to here people trying something new, but they can continue to do so without me.

Although the detailed information on bands that usually gets included with CDs jostling for a review can be useful, it’s often nice to try one that comes with no details at all, not even a track listing. Soprano make lightweight MOR pop music that the likes of The Feeling have been successfully flogging to the masses for several years now. Guitar music didn’t used to be like this. We wanted the mainstream to catch on and realise there is more than boy/girl bands and that instruments should not be a barrier to success. Sadly it turned out the mainstream wanted bands so insipid we’d rather they’d stuck to Take That and The Spice Girls, so that Scouting For Girls would have no need to exist. This has the required utter lack of any ambition to hit it big. Maybe that’s why there was no track listing, they didn’t have enough imagination to think of any song titles.

My American Heart – There Are More Frightening Things
So here we have the American version of Soprano, still unoriginal but in a completely different way. This time it’s bog standard riffs, stupid lyrics, and an irritating faux-emotional vocal sound. “Oh oh, here we go again”, being perhaps their most (unintentionally) insightful lyric. Or maybe it’s “But you’d rather walk away”. Snore. Their website is, but honestly, they really don’t.

Screwd – Birds And Bees
Back in 2006 I reviewed a previous effort by this band, From All Angles, and found it to be full of promise. Sadly, it seems the last few years haven’t brought them any further success. This 7 track demo shows more of the same, low-key solid little pop and rock songs delivered with conviction, honesty and an odd sense of calm. They show lack of ambition, but in a really good way. They don’t try to be anything they’re not, instead concentrating on making music that is above all enjoyable. Sometimes, such as on Audio Show, they can be a little too un-polished, but this is an inevitable result of being a band that clearly have to do everything themselves. Lyrically, Angels On Our Shoulders is the standout, offering such gems as “So I don’t know what to do now, and I’m in a fucking state, but I don’t have to work, ‘coz I’ll just scrounge it off the nanny state.”

Bassboosa – Bassboosa
This album has been sitting forgotten at the bottom of my review pile for what appears, judging by the release year, to be about two years. Sorry Bassboosa. I don’t know why, as it has lovely packaging that should have been the first to catch my eye. But it’s worth my going back too, even if in all likelihood they’ve since made a follow up records, because it’s a very lovely record indeed. Vocalist Jasmine Badir has an amazing voice, soft and gentle in places, soaring and uplifting in others. First track and album highlight Cry is a perfectly crafted pop song, showing quality mainstream songwriting talent. And most of the rest of the album isn’t far off; no track would sound out of place on Radio 2. This is unmistakably a pop record, and not going to appeal to the average Repeat reader, but it is a quality pop record, full of hard work and genuine enthusiasm and belief, and they deserve every success in their field.

By Alan Smith