‘Spacemen’ is a nice Doctor Who reference from two dashing Scouse brothers who pride themselves on a typically British approach to what is essentially really good songwriting. Whilst the Sensorites of sci-fi lore were intent on using their telepathic alien powers against humans, here is a band that uses harmonious indie/pop with a feel-good summery vibe to do their bidding. Sounds like a polished turd? Not likely. With a tell-tale use of rhythm that screams north of the border, Sensorites mix a laidback vibe synonymous with The Bees (who aren’t Northern but always sound a bit Northern to me) with the strong melodies of the beautiful Serge, Ashcroft and the like. What’s more, despite the fact that the B-sides could be seen as a cop-out in being different versions of the same track, each only serves to showcase the strong musicianship throughout. A moody, fairly woeful remix by ‘Two ragged soldiers’ acts in stark contrast to the single, replacing cute acoustic guitars with sombre, dramatic instrumentation in what could be a completely different song altogether. And the A Capella version on the end? Now they’re just showing off. And well they might. This is a nice introduction to what should be a mainstream talent.

This review is also a year or so in the making. But Sensorites are still writing and gigging. Check them out, innit.

The summit of Mount Everest is marine limestone

Accompanying this very polished-looking album is an equally as polite letter, stating that The Footage are a London band that have written 800 songs and already have plans for their 18th album. I already feel that they must be taking the piss. But you never know these days. And I seem to have heard it all. Still, self-professed ‘art rock’, The Footage, pre-listen, conjure up images then of something perhaps performance-based, maybe exciting and a bit different? My heart skips a beat in anticipation. Could The Footage change my life?

What, perhaps unsurprisingly, actually heralds the start of ‘The summit of Mount Everest blah blah blah…’ is instead a mercifully short round of rather creepy vocals that strangely puts me in mind of The Housemartins, of which I was never a fan, if you hadn’t already guessed. What follows, however, leaves even less to the imagination. ‘Down to lie’ sets the scene for an arduous trek through fairly repetitive guitar-driven indie muzak, in which the lyrical content seems to use the word ‘that’ a lot to rhyme with the word, er, ‘that’. Which left me feeling a little (let me think for as long as it might have took them to come up with it)… flat. The singer also has the voice of a staunchly British crooner that at times puts me in mind of a self-indulgent Tony Hadley. Perhaps this is why, for me at least, The Footage lack the sparkle of other artists of their ilk in that there is something a little dated about their songwriting in the majority.

In fact, it is only when they stop reading the ‘Pam Ayres guide to poetic lyricry’ -or whatever manual they got the notion from that everything has to bloody rhyme to be beautiful- do The Footage make any sort of impact at all. Away from droll ‘compositions’ about taking ketamine in South London (‘Our last chance (to really fuck this up)’) and being spoilt and therefore fucking your Dad, in that order (‘The Hampstead Blues’)- in which the drug and sex references are so forced you expect a bout of prudish tittering afterwards- we find pretty, uplifting melodies, a retro simplicity of The Police in ‘Thing is’ and even a sweet arrangement of piano and cello during ‘The sky that wasn’t God’ (only ruined again with a mis-rhyme of ‘claret’ with ‘mosquito net’). They even have a standout track in ‘Shatterments’, a more upbeat mod/pop tribute, which picks up the pace before returning to a nice enough ending in ‘Croc sobs’. And we all know nice just ISN’T enough these days. Though I’m sure these songs are meaningful to someone, to me it sounds like five students deciding to form a band for a bit of a jolly and not really doing it properly. Nothing wrong with that, just not my cup of tea. In fact, I hate tea. It’s mediocre, it’s bland and I don’t see the point of it. Ahem.

As this review is a year or so late, and their webspace hasn’t been updated since this release, I don’t know if they are still a band or maybe they’re writing another 5000 songs. Who knows? Who cares? NB It is my statutory right to have an opinion. You asked for it.

Anna C