Broken Boy Soldiers
Panic at the Disco : A fever You Can't Sweat Out (www.panicatthedisco.com)
This is one of the bands tarred with the ubiquitous 'emo' tag; short for 'emotional rock' these bands mix Goth, trashy American punk and mod rock together to make a sound which is becoming so widespread it is now becoming a term of abuse.
Most of the songs on this album sound similar with fast, catchy tunes and the same American voice that lurks behind every emo band, making them band sound like the distorted offspring of Fallout Boy and All American Rejects.
But coupled with their annoying emo accent, Panic At The Disco have some unique characteristics to make them stand out : memorable, fast, infectious tunes spiced up with a little unique something to make them kick the hell out of Fallout Boy's stupid playground rhymes.
Their songs have incredibly long titles, that seem to have nothing to do with the lyrics; for instance "London Beckoned Songs About Money Written by machines" seems to be about wet dreams, and "There's a Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey" seems to be about being different to everyone else.
Laudable sentiments in search of better homes.
7 / 10
Dirty Pretty Things : Bang Bang Your Dead (www.dirtyprettythingsband.com)
As you'll know by now, this song starts with an excellent bluesy guitar noodling, before launching into a country-ish chorus. Carl Barat seems to have resurectaed a second Libertines, with those signature melodies and his intelligently meaningful lyrics, without the weight of a lead singer crumbling to pieces through self abuse. In fact, if The Libertines had carried on, they probably would have ended up sounding like this, which does everything they did with a little bit of extra magic. It's one big dirty pretty blackberry pie.
9 / 10
Jack White has taken a break from The White Stripes to make a band with Brendan Bensan. And they're surprisingly good.
Taking on the genre of trashed garage blues as discarded by The White Stripes, while adding their own extra ingredient of flowing backing vocals by Brendan and the band, who somehow manage to add some extra atmosphere sadly lacking from the duo. The funky blues opener and single "Steady As She Goes" sets out the tone for this brilliant album.
9 / 10
Muse : Supermassive Blacdk Hole (www.muse.mu)
One of my favourite bands have returned with yet another brilliant single. Sounding like a distorted Doctor Who theme tune being played by Warren Suicide with old, trashed in guitars plucking muted power chords over electro drum beats and screeching yelling over the top of it. This song sounds reminiscent of the first album 'Showbiz' with a much funkier sound to it. The new album 'Black Holes and Revelations' is due out on July 3rd; I hope that this is a snapshot of what the it is going to be like.
10 / 10
Graham Coxon : Love Travels at Illegal Speeds (www.grahamcoxon.co.uk)
The opening track "Standing On My Own Again" opens this album, grabbing the attention with its Copckney accent, fasty punky power chord guitars, and catchy tuneful sing a long chorus. This harks back to 70s punk rather than the bland American nothingness 'punk' bands which are so beloved of MTV 2.
This is great, an album you can listen to all the way thorugh rather than just the singles, top stuff.
Even if you know that Coxon plays guitar on Sham 69's alternative England Football song. (Here - Ed)
10 / 10
Djevara : Firebrand Series http://www.djevara.co.uk/
This caught my eye as I sifted through my review pile as I noticed one of the songs was called "The Death of Cliff Richard". Pleased with this idea, I picked out the CD and pressed play. The lyrics are very good, raging against crushing consumerism, American ideology and conservatism in general; "Music for fashion, it spins too fast to turn around, your passion is a whore" and "See the smiles, the last for a lifetime, this smile will last for a lifetime".
However the music is not my cup of badger juice; there's no tunes, the vocals scream on top of toneless guitars slamming flat chords like an out of breath sweaty pig, while the metallic drum beats made me want to turn it off.
So, one way to describe this CD would be "meaningful, but tuneless".
4 / 10
Be Your Own Pet - debut album www.beyourownpet.net
This is one of XL's newest bands, and one of their best! A psychedelic mix of the Von Bondies, Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Yeah Yeahs Yeahs, pumped along by the afro-haired bassist's punky bass lines and providing a suitable platform for singer Jemima's attitude-packed lyrics. They are very reminiscent of the power and force prevalent in the best of 70's punk, and they sound just like they're playing live in the corner of your room, perched on your stereo. Key tracks for me are "Girls on TV", "Adventure" and "Wildcat", all of which exemplify what I call their fast DIY psychedelic sound, but the slow funky ballad "October, Fist Account" is also very enjoyable.
A brilliant debut, highly recommended for anyone who wants to try something new.
10 / 10
Real : 13
They've got up-beat fast-paced songs, but to me they sound like sterilised versions of the Foo Fighters, taking all the excitement out of rock'n'roll. And their singer sounds like a failed entrant in the Eurovision song contest, and I'm not talking about the Finnish entry!
3 / 10
Cardboard Box (www.cardboardbox.me.uk)
The overall sound of this band is very blunt, more like a cardboard dagger than a cardboard box. However its straight edges and evenly packaged 'box like sound', rarely crossing boundaries or sounding more open or 'circle like', returns us to the box analogy. Apparently this is the sound they're aiming for, not just the band name but also the packaging (an open net for a box) reinforces this point. For me a box is just something to shut things in, whereas music should be open and for expressing yourself. This CD is too flat and dull for my liking.
The Fondas : D'Ya Feel Lucky? (www.thefondas.co.uk)
This track started slowly and I almost pressed 'skip', but then like a fairground ride gaining pace, it turned into an adrenaline rush: fast, raw, psychedelic and exciting! This aptly describes the Fonda's overall ethos, which seeps all over their sound.
9 / 10
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