A Mess of Red Felt-Tip and Bitching

aka selections from Hannah's Reviews
(full version to appear in R*E*P*E*A*T iussue 20)

Reviews = opinions, not facts. Thus I fully reserve the right to slag off bands because I'm in a bad mood, display shocking lack of knowledge about music and develop an irrational hatred for you, your band, your music, your lyrics, your irritatingly enthusiastic indie record label, the colour of your EP sleeve and your aunt's step-dad's favourite goldfish. Ok?

My Hi-Fi Sister - 'Mainstream Daydream' EP & another EP without a name (www.myhifisister.com)
I couldn't think of any other bands to compare My Hi-Fi Sister to so I decided to invent a new genre instead. Welcome to the birth of Suffolk Dawn Music: the songs that need to be playing on the battered stereo of the car you're half-asleep in the back of while being driven home along the A14 at 5am after a perfect night out, exhausted, hungover and happy. These songs are beautiful, dreamy, understated and magic.

My Hi Fi Sister e.p. sleeves

Amplifier - 'The Consultancy' sample CD (Infected Records)
Explosive and wild with some lovely dark, evil-sounding basslines. There's just a lot more here than in lots of bands - unexpected harmonies, weird spooky-sounding guitar solos, lots of fuzz and feedback that fits really well into their style. Amplifier sound like a stadium megaband in the way the early Manics did and Kinesis do - violently, angrily, rockingly EPIC without being cheesy.

Michael Schenker - 'Forever and More' (SPV)
Hell will freeze over before I listen to a Michael Schenker double album. Sorry. Next!

Art Brut - 'Brutlegs 2003' promo (http://listen.to/artbrut)
Art-rock punk, like what the Sex Pistols might have written if they'd stayed in school and bought some acoustic guitars instead of hanging out on the Kings Road all day. Sounds original for about half the first track, then the singer's Nice Boy Version of Johnny Rotten gets a bit grating. It's like gentle punk, which is too much a contradiction in terms to be that good.

Lomax - 'A Symbol of Modern Living' (93 Records)
At first listen Lomax seem great: fast heavy punk you can imagine jumping up and down to all night, random fucked-up samples at the beginnings of the songs, furious political lyrics that they've made the effort to print in the CD sleeve... BUT... somehow they don't do it for me. They're like a lot of good things wrapped up badly into an average band. Not as good as the sum of their parts. Like lots of of nice chocolates inside a crap box. Or something.

Pretty Girls Make Graves - 'The New Romance' (Matador Records)
One word: wow. Some more words: weird, beautiful, inspired, cool, arty (in an entirely good way). Buy this album now. And go and see them live. I'd include a plug here for their gig at the Camden Barfly on February 10th (with the equally fabulous Antihero!) but I doubt this issue will be out before then... heh.

Mclusky - 'Undress for Success' EP (Too Pure Records)
The problem with mclusky is that they're trying to be punk and expansionist at the same time (we may only know 3 chords, but look how many notes that is!!) and can't pull it off. Each song is based around one annoyingly repetitive riff, like they don't want to risk putting more than one tune into each song (in case they run out?), so they get tiring quickly. There's a lot of style and rhythm in the songs but by the end of the EP I'm longing for something with depth.

Akira - 'Demonstration' EP (www.akiraband.com)
Akira seem to be capable of writing good tunes so could be a lot better if they got the chance to make a well-produced CD instead of this muddy-sounding demo. The guitar and bass blur together and slip in and out of tune - there could be plenty of tunes in there but you have to really listen to hear them and the whole is just a blur. The songs are way too long for my liking as well, they go on for ages without really getting anywhere - you could go and make yourself a sandwich in the middle of the second track and then come back and still be able to review it. Not that I did that. *Brushes breadcrumbs off trousers*. Ok, I'm off to do my coursework. Till next time, kids.