Sound: From the word go, this album sounds very much like Joy Division and New Order. The opening song (the album's title track) has the heavy sound of songs like 'Love Will Tear Us Apart', as the sound is very keyboard-driven. This sound throughout the album is the mainly based around the whole electronic sound (keyboards, synth electro drums etc.), displaying only a few guitar/bassline appearances.
Due to this over-riding electronic outlook, some of the album starts sounding quite samey. The first three songs (the title track, 'Bricks and Mortar' and 'Papillon') all revolve around being slightly fast paced. The third, 'Papillon', is extremely reminiscent of New Order's 'Blue Monday', in many respects. The following track, 'You Don't Know Love' follows this feel quite a lot. It would be pointless for me to continue listing the songs that sound like this, as about half of the album is like this.
Some areas of these particular songs (musically) are incredibly catchy, but most it would be quite boring without the lead vocal. And without the few tracks breaking the album up.. Tracks like 'The Boxer', 'Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool' and 'Walk The Fleet Road' break the album up nicely and provide the greater high-points. Completely different to all tracks previous to it, 'The Boxer' sounds almost Spaghetti-Western styled, 'Blood Drool' is a great alt. rock number and 'Walk The Fleet Road' provides a eased ending to the album (although the ending to the song itself is quite disappointing).
Overall, there's some good musicianship on here, although the whole synth/keyboard thing does wear thin after a while. When there's only synthesized instruments driving the entire band, they lose some emotion and feel in the music. This could maybe have been prevented with some real drums/bass maybe..? // 6
Lyrics: From what I can tell, the lyrics remain quite good through the entire album. There are no real low points, other than the "I swear to God.." bits on the first track, which get very repetitive, very quickly. The vocals themselves are quite expectional. I have no doubt that the lead vocalist is very tallented to carry off such diverse vocal styles. As I mentioned in the 'sound' section, the band have clear echos of Joy Division, and that's reflected in the vocals too. The singer (I believe he's called Tom Smith..?) sounds like a modern day version of Ian Curtis - so much so that it's actualy quite frightening. The only REAL let-down that I can find with the vocals is the backing vocals which (although they work with the music) just sound fairly horrific to me in places - but that's me! // 8
Overall Impression: Personally, I became interested in hearing this album when I heard 'Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool'. After hearing the rest of the album, I wouldn't personally go out and buy it. This kind of music is a very precise aquired taste. I know for a fact that if you liked Joy Division, New Order and other late 70's/early 80's electro groups of a similar style, you'll like this album. If you don't like them and are a general Indie fan, this album could possibly be quite hit or miss. // 6
- Anthony Bentley (c) 2009