The Resistance Demo
Talk about sonic soundscapes, aural cathedrals and eerie ethereal beauty usually tends to raise my hackles and remind me of the Manics timely if typically exaggerated advice that the band Slowdive were as bad as Hitler.
So this set me wondering about my fascination with The Resistance.
Is it just the mind-grabbing visuals that make them different from the shoe-gazing bores of yesteryear? These are indeed cunningly crafted film shows, snippets of wars, 'brutality and religion' counter posed against popular culture, working to underline the point that this is not just cleverly pretty music to stare open mouthed, stoned and obedient at, but it also has something it wants to say.
Which is a contrary statement in itself when we are talking about a band with no vocals.
But how does this work on CD, without the images, are we back in the realm of nothing but pretty sounds?
No, I think not.
The Resistance use two guitars, one for feedback and one for noise, and a laptop for drumbeats, sampler and general noisemaker, and are always convey a pulsating urgency, a desire to communicate, a living soul at the heart of their pieces that marks them out from the nothingness of the shoe gazing bands which caused the Manics ire.
'90 Seconds Over Nanterre' is particularly insistent with its driving beat, its droning, feedbacking, thrashing guitar, pulsing 3 note bass line and sampled speeches about the need for resistance in the streets - this must be one of best examples ever of how to communicate without words. Although 'The Baltic Fleet' starts to scare me in its sonic soundscape-ness, 'Hawaii' is also jam packed with ideas as well as sounds to get you to think as well as marvel.
And perhaps also to dance.
To sum up, The Resistance are in fact guitar based dance music with brains, and deserve to have the world dance to their tune.
Apart from Hitler of course.
Jaed : My Way (Instant Karma)
This one is much easier to write about. Just as charming mind you, with its urgent female vocals fronting some spirited and memorable punky backing. The tunes are infectious, and the lyrics suffused with the honesty of real experience - abusive family background, a struggle with drugs, homelessness.
Vanessa, the creative force of Jaed, was raised on a strict diet of Veruca Salt, L7, Hole and The Pixies - fans of these bands will enjoy going her way.
Look out for the album 'Dirty Days', due out in March.
Buzzcocks : Flat-Pack Philosophy (Cooking Vinyl)
Everyone knows that The Buzzcocks have the best buzzsaw guitars, the best nagging vocal hooks and the best pop-punk throw away love songs ever.
This album only reinforces this fact
It also shows them complimenting these timeless qualities by developing an equally laudable urban guerrilla stance. Close followers of the band will know that The Buzzcocks have never shied away from social commentary and this album demonstrates that there's a lot more to them than 30 years of unrequited love songs - many of the songs on it are unequivocally committed and bolshy. Targets for their sugar-coated twin-pronged harmonic attack include the consumer 'must have' society, Ikea furnishings and the 'flat-packed philosophy' they represent, the Jack booted pressure to conform and Tesco self-service tills, with a fantastic sample of these soulless symbols of 21st century economic alienation.
None of this means that the Buzzcocks have lost their ability to charm the pants off the listener with their inimitably perfect self effacing love songs, it's just invigorating to see the band expand the social commentary side of their writing on this, their 8th studio album.
Buzzcocks are set to tour Britain in March. Expect songs from 'Flat Pack Philosophy', the underrated but rather excellent 'Trade Test Transmissions' and other recent releases to sit ever so comfortably alongside their greatest hits from yesteryear.
And the fact that old and new tracks do go so well together proves that the magic has never gone out of the Diggle / Shelley creative partnership. This album, with its subtle shift in lyrical content, can only breath more new life into it.
By Rosey Repeat
Oh Shit! about this review on our Message Boards here