See, this five piece band is being touted partly on the basis that it is the new project of The Libertines’ / Dirty Pretty Things drummer, Gary Powell. So I feel I should really like it – in the same way as I should really have liked / like The Libertines. But I’m one of those cantankerous little bastards that tend to shy away from music force-fed by The Press as being the ‘coolest’ and ‘hippest’ around. And so The Libertines kind of passed me by, really.
What I’m getting at here is that if this six-track album were handed to me with absolutely no ‘history’ attached to it, I would have played it a couple of times, found nothing that absolutely set it apart from many others, written a brief review and filed the CD away.
However, give the situation in which I now find myself, I have played it umpteen times ….and unfortunately still not found anything that would set it apart (least of all ‘absolutely’) from a plethora of other bands / albums.
OK, there’s certainly nothing wrong with it, but it just doesn’t grab me at all. Even the recruitment of vocalist Robin Coombes of acclaimed UK hip hop group, Taskforce doesn’t make it shine any brighter.
With the exception of the very short penultimate track ‘In Like Voodoo’ (at less than two minutes) it’s all a bit too sedate for me. This particular track however, rocks big time with a tinge of punk attitude thrown in for good measure. And in fact, the closing track ‘Devilish Ways’ also treads a similar, if a little more pedestrian path.
Overall, I think it comes across as a rather ‘grunge’ influenced piece, with (and I’ll probably get slaughtered for this) a touch of a reggae feel mingling in with opening track, ‘The Invasion Of Venice.’ However, vocalist Robin sounds kind of bored on this one, his voice rather mono-toned, and consequently the result is a rather ‘flat’ track, when potentially it could have offered so much more.
‘Delusional,’ picks up the pace a bit and where the previous number was sort of ‘reggae-grunge’ this one sounds more ‘jazz-grunge.’ Interesting concepts (or at least ‘interpretations’ on my part) and again, it’s an ‘OK’ track, but lacking that killer hook that the listener could buy into. Nice drumming, though if that’s any consolation!
‘Memories,’ is slower again – pleasant background music of a heavier variety, the vocals being a lot more expressive and varied on this one. ‘Romantic Podantic’ builds in intensity throughout, and again leans on the heavier sound, as it prepares the listener for the best track of the six – the afore-mentioned ‘In Like Voodoo.’
Maybe I’m being a bit harsh? It’s certainly worth a listen, but for me it fails to hit the spot. Sorry!
(Released through 25 Hour Convenience Records – ‘373’ on 4th October 2010)