Sound — 7
Less than two years since the release of debut album "We'll Live And Die In These Towns", Coventry trio The Enemy return with "Music For The People". A breath of fresh air when they burst through in 2007, they're realistic portrayal of youth life in Britain backed by the sound of energetic power chord thrash gave us an album full of bite and conviction with anthems and sing-a-longs aplenty. Here the band expand they're sound with bigger production and make full use of the inevitable range of additional instruments and effects that brings. No better example of this comes in the shape of opening track "Elephant Song". After a long feedback induced intro it serves up as the heaviest moment on the record, a massive riff at the centre of it all, accompanied by strings and huge melodies, its chugging pace and sense of epic creating one of the overall highlights. Next track and lead single "No Time For Tears" follows in similar fashion, this time a huge beat and bassline being at the hub whilst vocalist Tom Clarke is sounding at his most ferocious, spitting lines with as much urgency and inspiration as ever. Complete with soulful female backing vocals in the bridge and a nice piano loop throughout, it proves to be another of the records highlights. From the explosive beginning the LP then turns to either the thrashier sound of of the first album or to more softer, gentler moments. Frustratingly, neither style quite re-gains the momentum laid out at the start but still proves very solid in flashes. "Sing When Your In Love" with its chilled out, simplistic structural layout and very catchy refrain is a great moment, as is it's almost darker and more emotive brother on the record, "Keep Losing", the downbeat-yet-upbeat lyrics completemented wonderfully by a minimalist approach again and the re-appearence of the soulful female backing vox and strings. Of the faster moments, "Be Somebody" probably stands out as the catchiest and most effective, the others not quite repcapturing the fire of the bands initial series of anthems from "WLADITT". It's no coincidence that these less effective moments also share possibly a bit TOO much in common with the bands influences, "Nation Of Checkout Girls" and "Don't Break The Red Tape" in parts screaming the names of two very well known songs from years gone by and "Last Goodbye" also suffers from the same, the chorus melody being identical to a song by Richard Ashcroft.
Lyrics — 6
On "Music For The People" vocalist Clarke takes away the feel of the everyday sitation so brilliant described on "We'll Live And Die In These Towns" and replaces it with a more general overview, with "Elephant Song", "No Time For Tears", "Sing When Your In Love" and "Keep Losing" serving as big rally cries be you on a high or low. Elsewhere the band look at diminishing industry on "Nation Of Checkout Girls" and the ever increasing restrictions caused by health and safety mad powers that be on "Don't Break The Red Tape". "51st State" see's the band go more directly political but with the odd refrain of "oil-drums" leading the chorus it reaches mixed results, and "Silver Spoon" with its open proclamation of not being raised in a money and well connected environment may makes some fans feel the band could have been more subtle.
Overall Impression — 7
A grander proposition overall, The Enemy have some fantastic moments on this record, the epic one-two opening and more delicate moments especially, but the lack of conviction in the middle of the record stops it matching its predecessor or taking the band to the next level. More of the same lyrically and the, blatant or not, copying also claw back the records intentions. With enough fire in their belly vocally and a big sound, the record is still enjoyable and inspiring.