Run to the Hills...
Alan Smith wonders if willderness really is a paradise now.
Morning Runner - Wilderness Is Paradise Now
How kind of the folks at EMI to send out a copy of this album for review.
Shame that, as I write this, I've yet to hear anything. This is thanks
to a lovely copy protection system preventing iTunes from recognising
or playing it. My CD player similarly rejected it. Eventually, I discovered
the CD would accept me listening to it on Windows media player, but
ever getting it onto my iPod is out of the question. The major labels
need to realise they are looking at the problem of illegal downloading
the wrong way. These kinds of restrictions (now used on many releases)
will only push people to illegality with its bonuses of portability.
They need to provide VALUE to tempt customers back. The independent
labels have already realised this, and Arctic Monkeys have shown that
by giving a little you can still sell records (in a normal format).
You want to know about the music? Oh, OK. I got it playing and discovered
what you may already know. This is shoddy sub-standard Coldplay (who
I love) that no self-respecting music fan would wish to illegally spread
across the internet. The songs sound the same; it doesn't grow on you
and offers nothing in the way of originality, genuine emotion or the
epicness that other bands can create in this genre. Will probably sell
shit loads. www.morningrunner.com.
Buzzcocks - Wish I Never Loved You
Buzzcocks are not only still alive, not only still touring, but actually
still making new records. This has to be applauded in these days of
reformation cash-in tours. Whether anyone is buying the new material
is another matter. But they should, it's really not too bad. Free from
EMI (now on Cooking Vinyl) they are free to do as they please. The three
songs on this single can hardly be described as punk, sounding more
like Paul Weller. All are very pleasant fare, tuneful and not the sound
of a band out of ideas. Long may they continue to enjoy their continuing
Dilated Peoples - 20/20
Another EMI nearly-a-real-CD, this time only Winamp playable and completely
unburnable (see Morning Runner). This is hip-hop, one of those genres
I feel unqualified to talk about. Rarely does this type of music grab
me, and Dilated Peoples 4th album doesn't break the trend. The single
"Back Again" is nice enough (but sounds just like previous
hit "Worst Comes To Worst"), but the rest of the album sounds
very generic and like many other peoples work. It is, I think, "genuine"
and they obviously believe in what they do. It has the typical irritating
"skits" which demand to be skipped. I'd guess if you like
this king of thing you'll like this. Although perhaps not love it. But
I have to shrug and move on. It just doesn't sound interesting, moving
Plastik - How Much Is Enough?
Unsigned three-piece Plastik have impressively managed to create a full
10 track album, produced themselves but with a very polished sound.
The album is packed with promise. It's full of hook-filled exciting
tunes, brilliantly executed, all of which demand to be played out loud
and proud. "Brainstorms" is a rocking, epic highlight, one
of many gems to be found here. This is a band which could go in any
of a number of directions. Hints of The Rakes, Radiohead, Muse, Suede
and The Breeders could all be pulled out from what is quite a diverse
set. An accomplished album from a promising band well worth keeping
an ear out for.
The Pigeon Detectives - I'm Not Sorry
From the label that brought you iForward Russia! (Dance To The Radio)
and the town that brought you those monkey people (Sheffield) come another
indie band fighting their way to the front of the queue with their guestlist
status being Steve Lamacq's approval. And once again I'm surprised at
how much I enjoy yet another new guitar band. The noughties are finally
delivering by the bucketload. Whether this or any of the other 50 bands
who have the required tunes, ability, fanbase and sound will become
one of the few who create a lasting career is a lottery. But they can
hold their own against the competition without anything unique to add
to the mix, as there is only so much you can do as a non-experimental
indie band. The two songs on this single are fast, exciting, earnest,
enjoyable and memorable. Clear examples of how they have good talent
to add to the UK mix. Closest to Franz Ferdinand at their most frenetic
or Bloc Party at their most enthusiastic. They could be huge or they
could sink without a trace, but that would be a great shame. But who
cares, just dance to it! www.thepigeondetectives.com.
A Million Billion - Volcano Season
This is the debut single from Ryan Smith, Silent League guitarist and
Bloc Party remixer. Volcano Season is made up of nice piano work, soothing
background electric sounds, forgettable vocals and, towards the end,
some thumping drums. However it never really gets going the way I thought
it might. The start sounds like the start of something really catchy
nothing much more. No memorable chorus or musical progression.
His singing is fine, and there's nothing here to dislike, you just feel
he has better in him than this, which will undoubtedly pass most people
by. The b-side is reasonable as just that. The vocals are distorted,
but it's OK. Once again it never really goes anywhere.
Cadillac - Magnetic City
It's time to RAWWKK!! And rip of Queens Of The Stone Age. But they list
them as an influence so I suppose that's OK. It really is very similar.
Fast passed drumming and guitars with vocals like
well like QOTSA.
Which kind of makes this hard to review. What more do you need to be
told about how this sounds when they have a perfect reference point?
It's not quite as good, tunes wise, but that's hardly surprising. But
it's still good music and highly enjoyable when you're in the mood for
something loud and "heavy" in a decent way, rather than a
metal way. There is no filler on here, and they have made a complete
album which is a sign that they have plenty of ideas. The Independent
ticked all the correct boxes reviewing this; "energy", "fuzz",
"accomplished" and "riffs". I like it, "the
kids" will love it, but if they truly want to leave their mark
in music history they need to develop their own unique selling point
to distinguish themselves from
oh, you know who. www.cadillacweb.com.
The Delilahs - This Is It
This Is It, the debut single from Swiss all-girl three piece The Delilahs.
It's a moody sort of indie rock, trundling along with a repetitive but
pleasant repeated riff over which the singer does her best to sound
as nonchalant as PJ Harvey / Kim Deal do and doing a reasonable job.
After a while just as you think the song isn't going to do anything
else, they let rip and they get all shouty Elastica style, which is
much more interesting and memorable. Sadly it's backed up by a horrid
standard-dance remix, although that's unlikely to be the bands doing.
This shows promise, although on its own not enough to get people talking.
With more shouting and with enough imagination they could produce something
Intention - Afraid At The Edges
At first glace this looks like the usual heavy screamy bollocks; red
lettering, check, fly on cover, check, maggots on back, check. But wait,
the press release promises an inventive different take on punk and hardcore.
Sadly, stick in the CD and
same old bollocks. But, to give them
credit, pursuing with the album reveals lyrics you can make out, songs
you can tell apart and even the occasional tune. Damned with faint praise
I know, but for the kind of music I hate this was relatively
Although I'm sure they'd pack it in if they ever heard that somebody
thought they were pleasant. www.intentionuk.co.uk.
The Somatics - Elemental
Somatics have 2006 top name dropping sorted. Both featured on a Dance
To The Radio compilation and having produced for iForward Russia! (those
guys are everywhere!), it's enough to have NME wetting themselves at
another job well done in the research department without having to worry
about such details as the music. Whilst not quite the "psychedelic
indie genius" it claims to be, Elemental is very nice. But trying
to combine indie with psychedelia hasn't quite worked. There's not enough
tune to satisfy the indie side, and it's too restrained to be truly
psychedelic. To be honest, it only ended 30 seconds ago and I've already
forgotten what it sounded like. The second track is equally average,
however it plods away for a devastatingly repetitive 7 ½ minutes,
" throughout. Man
it's still going. Dum de dum. Must. Not. Fall. Asleep. Final track You
Promised Me is different but still dull. It's not too bad but
I just don't care anymore. A dull disappointment. Please go away. www.the-somatics.com.
Worst Case Scenario Records - Two track split single
This two track sampler from new label WCS begins with Ten Thousand Eyes
(or Keep Dancing, the CD and info leaflet list different song titles!)
by Six Nation State. SNS are a fast paced rock band who somehow manage
slight ska undertones. A bit like The Zutons after a lifetime of alcoholism
it manages to be both fierce and danceable. It's energetic, heartfelt
and altogether a great little song. A change of pace for the other track,
Broken Silver by Ox who have a much more acoustic sound. The singer
has a very distinctive voice, a bit like Turin Brakes but with a harder
edge. A bit like the music. It's a great tune well written and catchy.
I thought the first band were great, but this is simply fantastic. Two
bands to look out for and a label that clearly knows what its doing.
Babar Luck - Care In The Community
The press release builds this up to crazy levels. Apparently he has
a new take on folk, punk, beats and poetry with a "musical melting
pot" to call upon as he wishes. He wants to "reach out to
the mainstream" and allow people to understand his multicultural
world. Sadly, his "melting pot" consists of lots of samey
songs in which fairly dull, gentle, nondescript music is talked/sung
over by him. It's dull, monotonal and hardly original. The lyrics may
allow him to express himself, but good music this does not make. I cannot
see who this would appeal to and he has fallen well short of the "unique"
music he has claimed to make. www.babarluck.com.
Screwd - From All Angles
Opening track Against The Wall kicks off with awesome throbbing guitars.
The vocals kick in, both strangely ambivalent but enchanting all the
same. This is a young band who have managed to take their generally
heavy rock influences and create something unique and listenable. Second
track Two Worlds does sound vaguely Metallica-like but that can only
be a good sign (can't it?). The lyrics are accomplished and well thought
out. Awoken is a slightly weaker track, but final song What About Without
is better with nice vocal harmonies and a more relaxed feel. Overall
this CD shows great promise for a small young band. I couldn't find
out where they hail from, but keep up to date at www.screwdup.co.uk.
Don Mescall - Innocent Run
This album, and indeed this artist, is perhaps not exactly aimed at
the average Repeat reader. Rather it's aimed at a Radio 2 audience.
There is nothing wrong with this, but it should give you some idea of
what to expect. It's an album of pleasant enough country / guitar /
pop as peddled by hundreds of similar sounding artists (David Grey et
al). His voice is suitably inoffensive and the music competent but free
of risk taking. It's credible enough, and his own work rather than a
record company crafted package (I think). Whether he can find a way
into a crowded market I don't know, but he has as much chance as anyone
else. I wish I could be more descriptive, but its blandness prevents
me from doing so. It's not something I, or probably you, will be interested
in, but his target audience will lap it up. www.donmescall.com.
HiFlyer - Here Comes The Sunshine
Bristol's latest young band HiFlyer claim they mix "Coldplay, Fleetwood
Mac & The Rolling Stones". I'm not exactly sure where that
last one is meant to fit in but the others are on the money. They make
piano and guitar led indie pop. Female singer Elle is a classic pop
music voice and works well with the decent music behind her. It's not
exactly hard edged or cutting edge, in fact it's more or less a spoon
of a band, and to be honest it doesn't really do anything for me. It's
just too poppy and restrained. If I was more of a musical snob or NME
hack I'd laugh at this and give it a virtual kicking. But I believe
in credit where it's due. So it's yet another CD which is of good quality,
with lots of effort put in, that simply isn't of any interest to me.
By Alan Smith
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