Making more bland, middle-of-the-road guitar and piano music as if what the world desperately needs is another Snow Patrol seems to be seems to be a career move that too many bands think is actually quite a good idea. Shame then, that Satellite State also felt that being completely inoffensive and forgettable was the right way to go, as they are a band that show enough potential to fill the large Radiohead-shaped hole that was left when Thom Yorke decided that making anything that sounded vaguely exciting just wouldn't work. The first track sounds like a cross between Radiohead and the Pixies, but with the volume gently turned down so they can have a quick nap. More boredom ensues, and although the band aren't amazingly awful, the tracks tend to drag on long enough to make even the most dedicated nu-raver start wearing beige.
Passenger - Wicked Man's Rest
OK, so you probably wouldn't get it if I told you the vocals sound like a cross between Jamie T and Macy Gray, but bare with me. While singer Mike Rosenberg's voice may be up with James Blunt in the annoyingness stakes, the mix of dreamy pianos and guitars with a hint of Primal Scream produces a surprisingly brilliant result; I even found his voice bearable by the end of it.
IV Thieves - Take This Heart
Some good old Jet-alike ballsy rock, like what they used to make; with a very heavily White Stripes inspired clap-along foot-stomper of a song, IV Thieves are on to a winning formula, even if it is one that has been plundered by the likes of Kings Of Leon and the White Stripes. Won't Be Fooled is the B-side, while it remains a very heartfelt, lighters-in-the-air type ballad, it sounds a bit like That Acoustic Song By Jet. Some rather inspired drums give the song a bit of a twist and reclaim it from mediocrity.
Decora - Sticks and Stone Cutters
What a great band: fusing driving basslines, Radiohead-like guitars, all the britrock energy of early Feeder and Ash, with the up-to-date vocal stylings of Fallout Boy and Panic! At The Disco. Latest single Sticks and Stone Cutters is an eclectic, energetic riff-laden slice of alt-rock, Shakespearian lyrics and all. Animation box pretty much follows the same formula, with discordant riffs that wouldn't sound inappropriate in a System Of A Down song, and a powerful crescendo that makes the slightly stodgy first minute or so worthwhile. Solar is the most powerful of the three songs, and although slightly repetitive, it still remains a fine piece of brash, grungey British alt-rock. Slightly questionable lyrics like "can elephants lose their minds" are pretty much the only downside, but Nick Weston's powerful voice more than makes up for it.
Things Found in Sharks - Splinters
Having missed out on Generation X by about 10 years, my taste in grunge music has been somewhat limited only to a 3-year obsession with Nirvana and nicking my brother's Pixies CD. Thanks to TFIS, I'm now a fully-fledged sarcastic, flannel-shirted, anti-metal grungekid. Well, maybe not, but if there were more bands still around like TFIS, then that probably would be the case. Every song on this EP was at the very least a welcome return to the early 90s, if a little updated and slightly less gritty. The single, Splinters, is the baffling, infectious, downright trippy lovechild of The Dandy Warhols, Dinosaur Jr. and McFly. The rest of the EP is the same pop-punky, happy-go-lucky, post-rehab grunge that's easy to listen to the first time around, and gets better and better every time after that. Everybody Floats is a slight letdown, and much too droney for my liking, but a catchy-as-fuck guitar solo picks up the pieces. Bring on Generation Y, and then, maybe, British guitar music will no longer be plagued by bands that are essentially the sonic equivalent of a tea cosy! Hurrah for TFIS!
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