Sound — 8
Here is the question -- does the word Shite mean something to FCC and is it offensive? And should the kids listen to the bands singing about Shite? I would say yes, they definitely should if Guards of Metropolis is one of those bands. What the accused can say in it's defense? Shite is not offensive in Scotland! So feel free to listen to them! Their debut album Alligator, consisting of 13 tracks, has plenty of guitar-driven rock songs with a bitchy female vocal -- everything you rock lovers has been waiting for! The guitars, led by Charles Normal are completely American west-coast (Charles Normal and Jason Carter are from California) while the songwriting and vocals have European sensitivity (the girls Kristian Blix and Silver Sorensen are from Norway). There's a common thing between all rock girl-bands (or rock bands with female vocals which is almost the same) -- they all listen to each other and as a result sound like each other. Guards of Metropolis is not an exception - you'll find many influences listening to Alligator. Apart from the fact that there is Elastica almost in every track, there are also a few other bands from Guards' of Metropolis CD collection. Tired reminds a lot of the Corrs (remember this Irish family four-some?) with a tender singing and plenty of strings. Why sounds similar to Roxette (even a harder thing to remember than the Corrs). The intro to Exhole sounds like Mission Impossible theme, which doesn't spoil the song in any way. The title track Alligator is the most interesting one with a bluesy feel to it and vocalist Kristin Blix singing in a rusty voice.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are bitter on assorted choice of themes -- old boyfriends, immigration, fame, politicians. In spite of the fact that half of the quartet is Norwegian, the lyrics are totally American and on very popular subjects -- like You keep screaming that peace is a reason to fight/You keep praying and saying the future is bright//You keep shovelin' shovelin' shovelin' shite/Under our noses/While telling us that you're planting roses. Hello, Mr. President! Probably everything is so good in Norway that it is even boring and uninspiring. Kristin Blix's voice is not something extraordinary, but yet it suites the needs of a rock band perfectly. It is strong, stable and can create a mood (which is a necessary attribute of all rock ballads).
Overall Impression — 8
Every once in a while Northern countries throw to the rest of the rock world something very interesting and strong. This band has it all for the success and popularity -- the guys create a solid background while the girls add the spice. They are radio-friendly, catchy, full of driving rock beats. All the tracks are thought-out and follow the golden rules of songwriting -- from quite to loud, repetitive choruses... From the commercial point of view the album is almost perfect. It seems like the band has enough talent to be both successful as a commercial project and to gain success from musically sophisticated critics. Too bad for the last ones it chose the first path (still follow my thoughts?)